I've chosen once more to reside in London for the time being. On Thursday I moved into my new accommodation, and I'm only slowly getting used to it. Walking around the area, I am reminded of my time here last winter. Kebab shops everywhere. Polish off-license stores. What does off-license mean anyway? The buildings are shoddy. Everything looks grimy. Even on a sunny day I can't help but think of rain. It's just the kind of image that the city gives off.
One of London's most interesting points is its people. One of London's least interesting points is its people. I don't know what to say about the people, really. While most of London is fairly... predictable, you can always count on the people of London to create a few surprises for you. They make life here interesting. Yet at the same time I can't help but feel disdain for the 'common lower-class Londoner', even though I technically am one myself right now, albeit with a slightly funny accent. I like the people, yet I dislike them at the same time.
It's so easy to compare London to Holland. They're right next to each other. I find it boring. Mundane. Does the mundane-ness in Europe increase as you go further north? The south seems more random, more spontaneous. But also more messy, more chaotic. The best part about going south is that the southern places are built around the sun, whereas northern places are built around the rain. London is built to keep warm in winter, and to keep the water out when it rains. It doesn't really handle summer well. It's a dreary place.
But London's dreariness is its strength. It's exactly the thing that I must focus on in order to enjoy it. British humour must be terrible indeed for one who does not appreciate cynicism. Thus London must be terrible indeed for one who does not appreciate rain. It's a purely subjective experience, of course. My view on London is greatly shaped by my previous experiences in life, most notably the five years that I lived in Japan, the rest of my life living in Holland, and most importantly, how those two lifestyles contrast with each other. It greatly reflects upon how I think about London. I'd like to think that it also makes me appreciate London more, or at least in a different way.
I intend to immerse myself in London over the next couple of months, but unlike before I have no intention of becoming a Londoner. I have no desire to become more 'integrated' or to improve my British accent or anything like that. All I want to do is observe the place, absorb it, then move on to sunnier pastures. Preferably to some tropical island. Like that English accountant I met on the Seychelles who never wanted to go back to England. Or San Francisco. I wonder how I'd feel if I lived in San Francisco.
To those of you who lived somewhere else before moving to London, how do you feel about London? How would you describe it? And why do you stay? Or why did you leave?
Side note: for an engineer I appear to make my major life decisions based on my gut feeling rather than on logic. But I'm ok with that.
Side note 2: after writing this bpost I realised that this is a crap description of London. I wanted to share it anyway.