How you know you’ve moved DOWN in the world in London:
Where is the food?
Instead of a variety of household name supermarkets, there’s one store in obvious proximity, with a limited range of foodstuffs, and the wine kept where you line up for the tills, severely inhibiting ability to find ‘best’ £5 ‘white wine’.
People think you live in a scary place.
This is mostly thanks to long-running Brit show Eastenders, and lower prices housing poverty, crime, cockney rhyming slang, and the infamous Ripper. Ooh watch out, he’s hanging around Brick Lane just itching for a curry and a garroting!
There don’t seem to be any dog-owners about the streets in the evenings.
I miss giving a smile and nod to a proud passer by and then mocking their odd dog at their backs. I now realise NZ is rather prone to a middle-ground of canines – labs, collies, spaniels – but the UK and Europe are teeming with varieties I’ve only seen inHairy Maclary and dog show mockumentaries – tummies scraping the ground, lengths too long for any spine to reasonably support, legs too short or skinny or bowed to cope.
Where is the coffee?!?!
I actually had to google ‘café near Mile End’ as it wasn’t immediately apparent. The closest is Costa (urgh, bad coffee, no wifi) and I even resorted to ‘starbucks near Mile End’ (the shame), only to find that the closest is at the next tube stop. Considering Wellington has more cafes per capita than New York, this is a bit of an adjustment. Especially when I need to leave the house to write because the books are calling from the shelf and the internet is elbowing me to check in.
Your room is smaller, and missing necessary items.
As I was subletting at the last place, I got to just borrow things like a lamp, rubbish bin, clothes horse. I’m also missing hooks on the door for coats and such and outlets in more than one spot. Of course, I only own a few appliances, and the Apple family tends to piggyback off each other each night, but still, I wouldn’t mind being able to see and use compy at once.
You’ll miss your lovely old flatmates.
Well, I have to say that don’t I? Naw, it’s true … Mostly.
How you know you’ve moved UP in your LIFE in London:
You’re on not one, but THREE tube lines!
Two of these drop me right by or close by work, in half as many stops as before. And they’re only 6 mins from the door, not 12! 25 mins door to door journey so far jaysus that’s better than in Wellington when I lived and worked in the central city.
There are buses in both North/South and East/West directions.
If I’m in Central London I can get home in one trip at any time of night, despite the wines attempting to blur my ability to read bus signs and timetables! Seriously, they are confusing, especially when the lines are all weaving together like a rainbow on LSD and every bus wants to take you to zone 6 and leave you there.
If you need wine (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), there’s an off-licence open late about every ten metres.
In fact, I strongly suspect that the number of ‘offies’ per sq km in London rivals that of people per sq km in NZ (16.5). True story.
People think you live in an ‘up-and-coming’ area.
Sure, it’s been ‘up and coming’ for 20 years, but still… Yay Shoreditch nights out! Bars with wonderland themes and entry through SMEG fridges. Hipsters, hipsters everywhere!
There isn’t dog shite everywhere
(The inconsiderate owners out West are too posh to pick up).
Your room is nicer
Without excess, unnecessary furniture, clothing, appliances, suitcases, dying plants, and books you feel you should read but won’t (yes I would LOVE a four hour work week! No I am NOT going to read that book).
It’s also YOUR room.
I’ve already moved things around a little, put things on the wall, and allowed myself that longed-for comfort of SETTLING IN.
You have a lounge!
And a dining table, decent sized kitchen and bathroom. Even an outdoors! With grass!
You will actually see your new flatmates courtesy of aforementioned living areas.
And I’m just dreaming of Summer gatherings with friends and potential new pals (wink wink) spilling out into the night and through various spaces, a la American teenage party movie.
You will no longer have to say ‘no but go on’ when people say ‘you know that thing on telly last night?’ and then stare blankly because you’re missing all relevant context.
This may actually be a problem, as I am addicted to various forms of media and barely manage to fit in all the things I love already. The absence of telly for the last 5 months and the introduction of greater travel time has only served to UP the number of beloved podcasts, audio series, books, blogs, papers and mags devoured, so what’s going to happen if I suddenly have to watch x-factor twice a week?!
You will have roughly £80-90 extra a month to play with.
Aka 13-15 bottles of ‘white wine’.