February 26th marked 6 months since I moved to London. Those 6 months have flown by and so much has happened and changed in that time. I went from wanting to get out ASAP to now wanting to see the time through to the end of my Visa. In my last London post it was Autumn, now it is winter and currently -1. Snow has blanketed the city in white. For the first time all winter I’ve actually got the heater turned on. I actually feel like for the first time in my life I’m experiencing a proper winter. Yes it is very cold and yes I definitely do miss the sun but I moved over here for new experiences and I’m certainly embracing it all.
I’ve definitely become more settled and have been fortunate enough to have settled into a job that suits me well and suits my needs whilst living over here in London. I’m working for an awesome manager whose been flexible with my travel needs, which is fortunate as I travel a lot and plan to continue traveling a lot. I live in beautiful Notting Hill and work in fabulous Mayfair, I’m definitely in the heart of it all here in London. There’s always so much going on and always something to do. Day or night, you can never get bored here in London.
As I was drafting this blog post, I was sitting on my bed, rugged up with the heater blasting, watching Notting Hill, the movie, on Netflix. This was February 25th, exactly 6 months since I said goodbye to my family and left Melbourne. That week, London was hit with negative temperatures and lots of Snow from the ‘Beast from the East’. It’s definitely been a different winter experience to what I’ve grown up with and I’m trying not to complain too much. It seems the Brits complain enough about the cold without me adding my voice to it xD
A few weeks before Christmas I saw my first ever snow fall, here in London. Since then I saw multiple snow falls, saw the city covered in a blanket of white snow and yet I still get excited every time I see the soft white stuff falling from the sky! I’ve now not only experienced consistent single digit temperatures but negative temps too. I learnt to dress in as many layers as I could still walk around in and that one can never own too many beanies and gloves! Back home when you hear about London and the Uk, people say it rains alot all the time. Not what I experienced through out winter. Yes it was colder then anything I’d ever experienced in my life but no where near as much rain as we get in during a Melbourne winter. I also reckon it’s windier in Melbourne too.
Having weekends free, I tried to see and do as much as I possibly could (and afford to do). From fireworks at Guy Fawkes bonfire night in November, market trips around London (Portobello Road, Borough, Maltby, Christmas markets), Museum visits, luckily so many museums in London are free (V&A, Natural History Museum), Day trips and weekend trips out of London (Oxford, The Cotswolds and Manchester to watch my first proper football match at Old Trafford). I’ve spent time exploring more locally too, wandering Covent Garden, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill, Greenwich, Clapham to name a few.
I celebrated Australia Day with several hundred fellow Aussies and Kiwis at a massive Aussie Day party. Also on the 26th of January, at work, the Chef cooked up Kangaroo steaks, made snags and fairy bread for all the Aussie workers in the Hotel.
I’ve had wild nights out with friends that made me slightly regret all the drinking come morning. But I definitely don’t regret any of the fun and adventures I’ve had with my friends and the memories we are making together while we all live together in London.
I finally got round to joining a proper gym and it’s been amazing having that part of my routine back in my life. I do miss swimming and regular hiking adventures and I’m hoping as summer draws closer I can start getting back into those two activities too.
Speaking of the seasons-as I mentioned earlier, I saw my first snow fall back in December and I even got a white Christmas whilst in Germany. Another tick off my bucket list. To prepare for all the Christmas markets I was going to be exploring whilst traveling around Germany, I ventured out into the cold one weekend with a couple of girlfriends to check out Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London’s answer to the festive European Christmas markets. German Beer halls, rides, sweets stands, mulled wine and hot chocolate, Ice skating and so much more fun.
on the 26th of February, exactly 6 months since I first arrived in London at the tail end of summer, I experienced even more snow fall in London, whilst heading to work. It’s funny to see the city fall apart at the slightest of snow, although this snow fall was only the beginning of the beast from the east which left London covered in snow for almost a week! It was magical to me and I ventured out every lunch break to wander through the snow even as it was still falling from the sky. Snow flakes swirling all around, pure magic to me!
I definitely did survive my first winter in the Uk but oh my am I keen for another European Summer, full of sun, friends and many adventures!!
EDIT** Yesterday was the 8 month mark of my time living in London. I’ve been a bit slack with getting this post completed. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I don’t have the amazing job I worked in for close to 7 months, a job that I actually really loved with people that became like family to me, but fortunately I’ve been able to pick up another position in another department of the hotel. So much has happened in the past 2 months since I started writing this blog post. I’m sure I will share more about it all in future London posts. I look back at my first 8 months living here and I think to myself, WOW I have managed to do so much already, I can’t wait to see how much more I can fit in to the remaining 16 months of my visa. Here’s to change, to new experiences and to embracing every single moment and appreciating every opportunity and person that comes my way.