oi! london

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england, UK / europe / on the road

I’ve been in London for around two years now, but I remember my arrival here clear as day. While I’m in the process of catching up with my backlog of travel posts, I thought it would be good to write about my current home and the very first European city I ever visited.

the London seal

the London coat of arms

The Fiancé picked me up at Heathrow after an hour or so of nervous waiting, as my ride from the relocation company never showed up. We took a black cab to Citadines Barbican, a serviced apartment where I would stay for my first month. I remember passing by the Big Ben, all lit up in the evening, and thinking to myself it was shorter than I expected.

Since I arrived quite late most of the stores were already closed. (Another thing to get used to, coming from Makati where the malls close 10PM on weekends!) There was a Tesco Express near the apartment so we went there to stock my tiny fridge for the next few days. My very first purchases: a carton of Tesco chocolate milk, a jug of Cravendale whole milk, Yakult (only because it reminded me of home), a Lindt orange dark chocolate bar, a bottle of Evian, and a box of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Clusters. I also bought a tray of  juicy Sweetheart cherries–it was my first time to see cherries that didn’t come in a jar.

my first home in the UK

my first home in the UK

The apartment was 10 minutes from the office. I arrived a few days before starting work to allow myself time to settle down and recover from the jetlag.

The Fiancé walked me to the office so I would know where to go, and we went for a stroll around the immediate neighborhood while at it. It was the perfect introduction to London weather: a nippy “summer” day, complete with rain.

the streets around Barbican

the streets around Barbican

I found it fascinating that there were plaques commemorating most anything all over the city. It was like a mini-History lesson wherever I went.

a mini-History lesson, wherever you go

one of the plaques around London

the Barclays bikes: another idea I hope we could replicate back home.

the Barclays bikes: another idea I hope we could replicate back home.

Maybe it’s because I grew up with reading so many British authors–Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Jane Austen, etc etc–I felt like the city was foreign yet familiar.

Since then, whenever I feel stressed from work I always remind myself how absolutely lucky I am to be working in London, surrounded by so much beauty and history.

a glimpse of St. Paul's Cathedral, near the office

a glimpse of St. Paul’s Cathedral, near the office

I’ve taken thousands of photos, been to many more places since then. There are still some days though, when I remember that first week when the City and I were both new to each other. And I just can’t shake off a strange melancholy.


The Author

I am 100% Filipina. I've lived in Manila, Jakarta, and London. Right now, I'm firmly planted in the tiny island of Singapore! I caught the travel bug early on. I also love reading, dark chocolate, spur-of-the-moment food trips, Fridays, dachshunds, and lazy weekends with my family or the Hubby.

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