We arrived in London on the 2nd October 2014 after an exhausting 32 hour flight. Thankfully we had rental accommodation already organized thanks to our friend and housemate Mel. We’re living in an area called West Hampstead which is northwest London. It’s a really lovely area to live in with good access to public transport (Tube, National Rail, Overground and Buses) and very close to shops, groceries and the gym. It’s actually an unusual place to live at the same time because on one end we live in a relatively posh area similar to Toorak and 5 mins down the road is like Broadmeadows with people from all ethnic backgrounds and plenty of cheap shops (which of course I really appreciate). Our modern flat is on the 3rd level with two bed bedrooms, one bathroom with a toilet and another separate toilet (phew!).
London is definitely not as cheap as I remember it being when we visited here 2 years ago, this is thanks to the pound being so high and the Aussie dollar being so low (£1 = AUD$2). In fact, London has just been ranked as the most expensive city to live in. But in saying that, everything is relative; we get paid in pound which equates to being almost double our salary back in Australia, so all in all it’s not too bad. When we first arrived, I had a tendency to convert EVERYTHING, but when I realised that would lead me to buy nothing, I stopped.
The Brits are a very friendly breed and are more than willing to help you out if you look lost or confused. The city of London is absolutely huge and there seems to be a big event on every single night here. So far we’ve already been to Once the Musical, Boy Band Reunion Tour, High Tea and an English Premier League game and there are plenty more things to see. As you’re probably already aware we’ve been fortunate enough to visit the Netherlands and Belgium in the short time we’ve been here and quite frankly have become obsessed with looking out for cheap travel deals on websites such as www.holidaypirates.com and www.travelbird.co.uk. We’ve already booked our holidays to Iceland, Melbourne, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic and will hopefully plan more once our bank account allows us.
Surprisingly, the weather has been quite warm for this time of year; it’s been roughly 16—17degs which the news is calling a ‘heat wave’ (they obviously haven’t experienced the 40deg summers in Melbourne). Unfortunately because of daylight savings, it’s getting darker a lot quicker which means that ‘winter is coming.’
I think one of the things we love about London is the accessibility to EVERYTHING by public transport is so easy and so efficient; most trains come every 3 minutes and buses every 7-8 minutes, so often we don’t really have to plan a time to get to a station because they’re just so frequent. The other thing Jason and I still love to do is sit on the top and front row of the double decker buses and take photos, particularly of the tourists who are obsessed with the Abbey Road crossing (just down the road from us).
As for work, I’m currently working at a community health centre roughly 60-90mins away from home. It’s a very similar setting to what I was working in back in Melbourne, only difference here is the NHS (government health body) are on a very tight budget so equipment is lacking … among other things. Nevertheless I do still enjoying working the patients and am glad to have a daily routine set. Jason is also working, but in an inpatient hospital setting and is likely to be moving around to different locations in the next few months.
So in summary, London has been great so far, we really do enjoy exploring the city but of course we’re (me in particular) pretty homesick so am looking forward to our visit to Melbourne in Feb.
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo.