Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sunset over Waterloo Bridge

  This is a nearly empty blog. Why? Well, for one, I could say my ambition to detail every aspect of my experience as a foreign Erasmus student living and working in London in written word was too ambitious. It seemed almost insulting to sit down and write about trivial, every day things - but it is the sum of such nigh-instantaneous minutia that comprises my experience.

  Should I have written about the friends I made, now nearly all back to their respective homelands, only to return when I am no longer here? What would I write about? Fran's delicate concern for others? Mathieu's constant egging for new Portuguese curse words? Sabrina's incisive sarcasm? But they're much more than that. How to distill every little moment into simple words?

  Maybe I should have written about the city. It's mish-mash of ancient and ultra-modern architecture, tangible attitude of "work hard, play hard" and its well-deserved place as paragon of what a cultural crossroad is like? But London's more than that - and less than that. Without its people, it is but a collection of roads and buildings.

  Perhaps, then, I should have written about the people of London. The curse-spouting moms with their baby trolleys, the charity worker that spots you with a smile as you try to evade them, the businesswoman trying to ride a bycicle through the Strand in high-heels, the jolly drunkards that strike up a conversation with you over cocumber sandwiches in London Bridge's train station? Words alone cannot convey it. I cannot share this with you. Perhaps I can share the seeming of it, the barest concept, and that seems unsatisfactory.

  This blog's emptiness is perhaps the greatest testament to the fractal immensity of my scarce four months in this city and how involving it is. I would not say I am a different man. That would be a mistake. Instead I should say that I leave London feeling more like myself than ever before.

  I arrived with nothing and I leave with everything.

Saturday, 30 October 2010


One thing I've noticed is that there is a very important element in going to live somewhere new: safety. It is something primal to human beings, I believe: having a place to call 'home', where they can be safe, relax, stop worrying. It is more than just a room or even a whole house though: it's something intangible, a collection of small elements, the sum of which is greater than its parts.

For example, I just came from a bout of grocery shopping about an hour ago and as soon as I put the food in the cupboards and the fridge, I felt this sense of accomplishment and reassurance unlike anything I had ever felt before. I have food. Should I feel hungry, I can eat. I need not worry about going hungry anymore.

It is basic, simple, and yet primal. Something that touches the very pit of our being.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Rain and Cheeseburgers

After a nice spell of sunny, clear skies, today I experienced the mercurial nature of London's weather. From sunny to rainy in about ten seconds flat.
Confronted with the sudden drizzle, I decided to take refuge in a nearby McDonalds restaurant and grab me one of the specials called the Deli of the Day. It's only £1,99 and it's quite worth the price. So good, in fact, that they removed the advertisement for it but continue to sell the item anyway.
So I get to the cashier, which must have been one of those above-the-normal-cash-register-grunts people because she was wearing a white shirt. The exchange went something like this:

Me: "Hi, I'll have the daily deli please."
She: "The what?"
Me: "There's a deli sandwich which varies every day and it's £1.99?"
She: "That's the Deli of the Day. Daily Deli doesn't mean anything."

Bitch, I've been there something like two other times and every time I order a daily deli, they know exactly what I mean. Have you ever heard of adjectivating nouns? OH WAIT YOU'RE MAKING A CAREER AT MCD, I GUESS YOU HAVEN'T!

Anyway, I needed to vent. End of rant.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Maria João informed me that my blog's name was a huge cliche because of a book or a song or whatever with the same name. Google proved her right. So here's a new title (and URL) for the blog.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Loving London

I love London. It is a fact. But the more I see of it, the more I realise that I don't love London for its physical attributes. I care nothing for the Buckingham Palace or Big Ben. Trafalgar Square was a disappointment, a pit stop for some delicious lemon cheesecake from Pret A Manger.
What I love about London is its people. It is the whole world in one place. All kinds of cultures, nationalities, available to you, every second, day or night. I love going to a nightclub and having some lamb donner on the way back. I love sitting on the tube for 20 minutes and hear all sorts of languages except English. I love taking a walk off the beaten path and finding tiny treasures. I love going to google maps, search for the most niche thing I can think of and watch as match after match pop up, none more than 30 minutes away.

So when you come to London, skip the cliché shit. Don't waste your days taking the same old tired pictures of the same old tired places everyone has seen before. Go and enjoy the actual London.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Science Museum

The Science Museum was much, much better than the Natural History Museum. Mainly because ROCKETS!

Seen here: rockets!
There is a lot to see in the Science Museum. Fortunately, the admission is free, so you don't have to take it all in in just one day. From the history and future of energy to the progression of modern technology, the Science Museum has something for everyone.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Natural History Museum

Today I visited the Natural History Museum. From the outside it looks amazing but the inside is rather disappointing. The exhibitions present, although creative and amazingly well-done, are disappointing if you've completed 5th grade. A very cool place to take the kids to but if you're looking for an actual museum where you can learn something new, look somewhere else.