What’s it like to be a Londoner?
London: England’s regal capital, where everyone speaks like the Queen. Or is there more to it than that?
Whenever I tell people that I grew up in London I am usually greeted with fascination and excitement. Many people who live abroad, and especially those who have never visited London, conjure up an image of a very dazzling and trendy city where everyone is always drinking tea. Whilst these beliefs do have some truth (yes, we do like our tea), I hope to show you a Londoner’s perspective of what London is really like.
For a nation of tea-lovers, you’d be surprised to know that we actually consume more coffee than we do tea! There are more than 2,000 chain cafés in London. Isn’t that crazy?! Despite this, we are of course very loyal to our traditional teatime drink, with many teahouses rivalling coffee shops. It’s important to note however that drinking tea is not as glamorous as you may think. Tea is a very quick and easy drink to make and is usually made within five minutes. I actually only learnt how to make the ‘perfect cup of tea’ when I started teaching English in Sicily. It just goes to show that even the tea-lovers aren’t always the experts!
London is definitely a melting pot of culture. It is infused with so many different cultural flavours through food, performance and language. Did you know that there are over 300 languages spoken in London? There are many different communities which all contribute to the London culture: Chinatown in central London, a very large South Asian community in Southall and an equally big Caribbean community in Notting Hill. As a result of this language soup, most Londoners do not actually speak like the Queen, but you can still tell a fellow Londoner when you hear one!
Public transport is not as terrible as we say it is. Although we are always complaining about public transport, it’s actually very efficient. I only learnt to appreciate how accessible and affordable London’s public transport system is when I moved to Scotland for university, and now, living in a smaller town in Sicily. A good service on the Central line means a tube (underground train) every 5 minutes, and yet you will still see most Londoners on a Monday morning getting upset when they miss a tube. What can I say? Londoners just love to complain!
London is a very diverse and exciting city to live in and it is definitely, for me, a very unique city. The culture is always changing, and although we Londoners complain about the cost of living, bad weather and poor public transport, deep down in our hearts, London is our distinctive home.