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July 25, 2017
Small town, big city
By: Halimah Awan

After living it up in the city for eight months you’d assume I would have gotten a grip on my way around, the expense of necessities such as food and the general attitude of Londoner’s on a Monday morning. I can cover all three in separate posts so let’s start with the former – finding my way around.

Coming from a small town, ok a small city and then hitting London daily is terrifying, exciting and mesmerising. At home, I’m so used to having one Pret, an M&S and maybe one or two gyms – that’s it. You hit London and all of a sudden there’s a Pret on every corner, a Costa, a Starbucks and so many independent coffee shops further than the eye can see. Anyone who’s met me at least once, knows I’m appalling at directions – is it because I come from a small city that I just know the way around or the fact that my hand eye coordination is so appalling not even Google maps can help? Whatever it is, it seems I end up losing myself in the corners of London. But, this can be fun; it allows me to pick new spots to have lunch every day and I get to experience the city differently.

It’s happened with me trying to find my way home, (like I don’t do the journey 5 days a week!) When I first started in the company I had a habit of catching the wrong train home – why are the Circle and District lines on the same track? Why do I never look to see which train I’m catching? More often than not I’ve ended up in Whitechapel when I’m supposed to be going to King’s Cross (it took me a while to figure out I was taking the longest way home). Slowly, I’ve learnt that it’s better for me to stay away from the tube and walk it when I can – not just because I get the wrong train but also because walking is more reliable, we’ll get onto that in a later post.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about getting lost on my lunch breaks, it’s that you should always remember how you got to the place you’re at (remember an iconic shop along the way – probably not a Costa or Starbucks), ensure you have enough data to guide you back to the office and make friends with someone who has a good sense of direction (at least you’ll have someone to direct you back if all else fails). But in all honesty after a month or two the whole ‘London thing’ becomes second nature – getting lost has become natural to me and if I hadn’t gotten lost I wouldn’t have found some of the cutest coffee shops (not that I drink it) and craziest ice cream stores (not the best if you’re trying to save money). Moral of the story? Don’t sweat it, no one accomplishes city life within a day, it’ll take a while and you’ll get some odd looks from strangers (especially if you’ve been walking around the same road for the past half hour) but you’ll get there

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