We have a confession to make… we are currently experiencing some kind of quarter life crisis. It’s only 1 week until we close a huge chapter of our lives and leave the country that we have called home for 2 years. We have become so used to living the ‘london life’ that it’s hard to imaging leaving it and settling back into the once familiar Aussie lifestyle of sun, bbqs and spending time with the family.
It seems like yesterday that we were counting down the days until we left Australia, ready to set of on a new adventure. Next came the excitement of settling into London, finding jobs, friends and a place to live! Following that we have had two years of fun travelling all over Europe and the UK, experiencing everything that London has to offer. Now we have come out the other side and are counting down the days until we leave!
The decision to come home was a hard one but to make the transition easier we have decided to travel on the way and stretch this adventure out as long as possible. We will be leaving London on Wednesday heading to Greece followed by Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany (for Oktoberfest) and Morocco. Then we will embark on a 40 day camping trip (yes camping) travelling through Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Once this is all over we should be well and truly ready to come home and sleep in a real bed!
The move home gives us the long-awaited opportunity to catch up with Parents, Grandparents, siblings and friends. Not to mention the babies who we are yet to meet and a chance to celebrate with friends who tied the knot while we were away. We can cuddle our dogs, say hello to our pet bird and sift through the contents of our storage shed rediscovering our forgotten belongings! And while it will feel strange to no longer shop for groceries at Asda or Sainsburys the old debate over us been Coles (Matt) or Woolworths (Hannah) people has once again been reignited helping us to believe it wont be too hard to settle back into life as know it.
So as we approach the final countdown we feel it’s appropriate to pay our respects to the city we love as although we still call Australia home, London will always have a place in our hearts. Here are the things we will miss most about this city:
A pub on every corner:
You might think we are exaggerating when we say this but London is full of pubs. We love the English tradition that everybody has a local in their street or for after work drinks and every one is always willing to have a beer or two after work especially if it’s sunny. It amuses us how on a sunny day Londoners will stand outside the pub on the footpath and drink their beer standing in the sun. We used to think they were mad now we are just like them. You have to soak up every bit of sun that you can in this city!
This might sound like a strange one but we love the fact that it is totally legal in this country to be driving down the road, spot a park on the other side of the road and just drive into it with your nose facing the other car. It makes car parking so much easier although it does take some practice to master the reverse parallel park on the opposite side. Lets hope we don’t accidentally do this back home!
When we first arrived in London we struggled to find sweets that tasted good (Australian translation: lollies). Theres no such thing as Allen’s over here so no red frogs, chicos or fantales. We really missed them in the first few months and hated the English equivilant: Haribo. We thought they were too chewy and didn’t like the taste, now we can’t get enough of them! The tables have turned and we will actually miss Haribo Tangfastics and Starmix when we leave.
Ok we know, we’ve complained about the weather a lot while we’ve been here, but the truth is it’s not all bad. We will actually miss winter (a little). November and December are amazing months in the UK, when it’s starting to get cold it can be fun getting your winter wardrobe out and eating comfort foods. The cold makes December feel more festive and nothing beats a white Christmas. Of course by January, February and March you’re totally over it and begging for the sun and when it does eventually start shinning you can’t wipe the grin of your face. We will never take the sun for granted again that’s the number one lesson we will take away from London.
The Morning Commute
“Mind the gap”, people pushing and shoving you on the tube, how could you possibly miss that you ask? There’s just something exciting about the morning commute. It’s nothing like what we grew up with, catching the school bus in Toowoomba and then driving everywhere as soon as we were old enough. The tube is dirty, sticky and smelly but sometimes you can’t help but smile while your standing in the aisle wearing your winter jacket, packed with people and feeling like you’ll collapse if you don’t get some air soon… It’s just so London.
It’s Pimms O’Clock! The ultimate summer drink, served in a jug with fruit and ice, shared with all your friends in the sun. It’s the definition of English Summer and it tastes great!
London has 5 airports and is only a 2 hour flight from some of the best European destinations. If your prepared to fly with the cheap airlines you can go away for the weekend for less than £60 return. This is one of the ultimate attractions of London and is one advantage that it has over Australia. Knowing that at the end of the week you will be flying to Europe for the weekend is a wonderful feeling.
Theres always something to do around here. Of course you have the main attractions like the London Eye and Buckingham Palace but even after you’ve worked your way through those there is always something else to see and do. After 2 years of exploring London we haven’t experienced half of the things we wanted to do but we’ve given it our best shot. We’ve done the main attractions, some of the fun ones such as Jamie Oliver’s cooking school and some really unique things such as climbing to the top of Big Ben to stand in the bell tower and watch it strike 11 O’Clock.
Our London Family
Everyone living on the other side of the world away from their family suffers from bouts of homesickness. But if you surround yourself with a London Family it makes the distance much easier. We’ve been really fortunate to have a great group of friends over here some locals and some also living far away from home. We consider ourselves really lucky to have friends from all over the world and are going to miss them all dearly when we leave! Although it does give us an excuse to come back for a visit as well as visit other countries such as New Zealand and South Africa. Thanks for the good times guys!
Being an Aussie in London
Nothing makes you feel more patriotic than living in a country other than your own. We don’t think we have ever celebrated Australia Day as well as we have over here or gotten so into the rugby, cricket and even the football (once again Australian translation: soccer). When your away from home you realise what a great country Australia is and you embrace your nationality more then ever. You want everyone to know where you come from, you try really hard not to gain any kind of an English accent and when someone asks if your from New Zealand, you slap them! (just joking New Zealand’s not that bad).
So it’s nearly over, the next 7 days will be spent packing and saying goodbye with a bit of last-minute sight seeing slotted in before the next adventure begins. It’s been a great two years that we will never forget. Watch this space to see how we enjoy the last of it!