10 things London taught me


I can't believe this is my, drum roll please, 200th post. Two hundred. Wow. I thought I'd do something different than the usual celebratory and thank you speech. I've been living in London for more than half of the blog's life now and in the past several months, this beautiful city has reinforced old manners and taught me new lessons that has made my life better. There are so many, but I'm going to share with you my top 10. 

1. Take a couple of extra minutes to perfect that outfit/makeup
I used to be a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal. And when I say jeans and t-shirt, I mean I'll throw on any pair of jeans and t-shirt as long as it doesn't look too shabby. But after coming to London and being surrounded by Europeans, I started to find jeans that are more tailored, t-shirts that are a better cut. Sometimes swapping a simple tee for a flowy blouse. Or even on the days when I'm wearing a simple jeans and tee, adding a scarf, a couple rings, or a pair of earrings adds that final touch you need to pull everything together. It's a small touch, but the difference it makes is huge, and unconsciously, you'll also have more confidence to tackle the world when you're strutting that perfect outfit down the streets. 

2. Be polite, but stand your ground
I have a flatmate that's easily the most polite person I've ever met. In the first six months that I knew him, he refused to curse in front of me. There was this one time when he came close to exclaiming excrement, and he made a swift left turn to change it into a completely different word. Bless him. But even with your please, sorry, and thank yous, don't be a pushover. Know where you stand and when people try to take advantage: smile, stick your heel in, and say sorry, you can't move. 

3. Respect.  
It's the more general idea of showing respect and returning the respect when its shown to you. This first struck me when I realized you could take drinks and ice cream into theaters here. Back home, even a sip of water had to be consumed outside of the concert hall. But surprisingly, even though drinks and food were allowed, there wasn't spills and trash left behind when the show ended. The respect shown to the audience was returned and it turned out a better game for both sides. So show respect, return the respect, it won't hurt anyone and it'll most likely make your day better. 

4. Be nice to people, it'll make life easier.
I am terrible when it comes to remembering to bring my keys. In fact, I think I set the record of asking reception to open my door for me 3 times in a span of 6 hours. The reception people are always nice, but other than it being ridiculously embarrassing on my front, I wonder if they sigh and curse under their breath when I walk up to them. But bribing them with baked goods and taking extra time to say hello to them when I come home from school and a bit of chit chat, I've pretty much established a small fan club downstairs with the reception people. Sure, they'll try and give me a hard time with the teases when I mutter that I've again, locked myself out, but it's a chat and a break away from the front desk, rather than a sigh and a chore. If you're planning on going abroad in the future, quick inside tip, this works for custom officers as well. I've had my fair share of boarder crossing, and not once have I been given a hard time by customs. More often than not, I always have a nice chat with them as they approve my visa. The trick? Smile, say hello, and ask how they've been. Most likely, they'll smile, bid you hello, and start small talk with you. You're being nice, you're showing them respect, and they'll reciprocate without giving you a hard time. Trust me, works every time. 

5. You can fall in love with anyone...
I had an inkling of this back before I came, but I didn't think it was a widespread thing as the couples around me were paired up with 'types' I'd stick them to. But while I have a puny dating life, I'm observing my friends' love life and while there's still a same core characteristic in the people they choose to go out with, I would categorize them in different 'categories'. A couple of conversations and friend-therapy sessions later, I've come to believe nothing good is going to come out of holding a model and looking for candidates to fit that when it comes to dating. I'm not saying don't have standards, I'm saying don't use a stencil. 

6. ...but don't fall in love with everyone. 
Let's just say I have an acquaintance that talks about a different guy every time I see her, even if I manage to see her 3 times a week. I don't think I've ever heard her gush about the same guy twice, and every time, she talks as if this is the one. Now while I applaud her optimism, I can't help but inwardly roll my eyes and tone her out when the 'I think I'm in love with the newest guy' gushing comes up. Maybe she has a lot of love, maybe she just really wants to find love, but it comes off as needy and desperate and that's just not attractive. 

7. Be international. 
I've always prided myself on being international. But for the first time, I was thrown into living arrangements that composed of six people from six different countries. I've picked up bits and pieces of languages and customs from different countries, found out that chocolate fondue wasn't that typical in Switzerland, and overall, become a more rounded person. Be international, nothing bad will come out of it. 

8. You always have time to appreciate the small things in life...
It started out when my flatmate pulled me into his room to show the Christmas tree he bought 2 months too early, and then there was the time when the other flatmate told me about how it stopped raining just as he was about to leave the flat. I used to be a hurricane, hurrying everywhere while going nowhere at all, but I started slowing down and paying more attention to the crack on the pavement that looked like Harry Potter's scar, or the chocolate chip that looked like a heart. 

9. ...or look to the flip side of things...
My fellow estrogen flatmate and I were battling against the wind on a jog several weeks back, we joked that only in London would you think it's good weather when it's not raining and you can't see the sun, despite choking on air. Before, I'd be complaining of the wind, but maybe being trained by the temperamental London weather, I'm starting to see the silver lining in the mass of grey. Sometimes you just have to look at the other side of the coin to turn a grumble into a smile. 

10. ...and you'll be happier. Promise.
It's only logic, right? You spend more time appreciating things, less time complaining, it would only work to be happier. Simple. 

I genuinely can't believe I'm going to end my 200th post. Thank you for sticking with me and here's to another 200! 

Has the city you're living in taught you any life lessons? 
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