Living Life as a Local

My time here in London is already more than halfway over and I am so sad at the thought of leaving this amazing city. Not only have I become more accustomed to London, but I feel as if I have become a local myself. Knowing the unspoken rules of the underground and rolling my eyes at the tourists standing on the left-hand side of an escalator, I feel as though I truly do live here.

Now, getting this comfortable with the city didn’t just come overnight. I went through those embarrassing times where I was that American. For example, the very first day at my internship I walk in and am introduced to my coworker who says, “you alright?” Me being the American I am, I respond saying “yes, how are you?” and the whole office erupts in laughter. It was only then that I found out the British greet others that way with no intention of them actually responding.

After a couple more of these embarrassing moments learning the culture, there was a particular moment where I truly felt like a local Londoner. This moment was when my roommates and I went to a festival called Summer by The River, which is an outdoor little concert where you sit on some steps overlooking Tower Bridge. We had been there a couple times before, but this one day I was able to get to the area with no directional help at all. In fact, my roommates and I were even contemplating multiple ways to get there yet none of us had any map pulled up. Being able to navigate my way across the city with such ease really made me realize that I had become accustomed to this city.

Another moment where I felt like a true local was on my commute home from work the second week. Not only was I confident enough to get home without any directions, but I was actually able to recite every stop the train made on my way home. The commute feels so natural now and if I don’t realize what stop the train is at, I don’t panic to find a map to make sure I didn’t miss my stop. Rather, I can tell what stop we are out solely from the look of a station and the number of people on the train at that point.

I am so happy being in London and I couldn’t have made a better decision than to study abroad here. I know that my time is dwindling down but I can’t imagine leaving this amazing city just yet.