I celebrated my second birthday abroad, and in this foreign city, there are moments when I feel like I’m in love. It’s a strange sensation, considering I am not romantically involved with anyone here. The past is slowly fading away, and new acquaintances still feel quite unfamiliar. However, my adoration for this city knows no bounds. On rainy days, I indulge in laziness, lying in bed, gazing at the passing days through the window. On sunny days, I venture out with friends, visiting free museums, immersing myself in the lively crowds of central streets. There are also days when I go out alone to buy essential items for my home, preparing for the upcoming school year. Whatever I do, I find myself passionately engrossed in the experience.
Lost in Love with London: An Enchanting Journey
Perhaps, being in the “honeymoon phase” of being an international student (newly arrived, settled in, but not yet starting classes), everything appears beautiful to me. I adore it here. I’m captivated by the lush green parks under the radiant sun, the bustling squares brimming with people passing by. I lose myself in the bookstores and stationery shops, and I’m in awe while visiting art museums. I even enjoy taking the underground train and attentively listening to the announcements of the next station (and sometimes, I’m pleasantly surprised by the pronunciation of certain words!). I’ve grown fond of my cozy room with a large window overlooking a small street. I’ve even set a new rule for myself (although I break it often!)—only going shopping twice a week because I can’t resist the temptation of small and delightful decorative items for my room.
The large window facing the small street is both an advantage and a drawback. I must keep my room tidy and clean so that if anyone looks inside, it won’t seem “shabby.” I also fear being “watched,” so I don’t dare open the curtains completely. However, after a while, I realize that I might be overthinking it. In this suburban area, people are too busy to pry into others’ lives. Moreover, curiosity about strangers’ lives seems to be considered quite impolite. On the underground train, there’s even an advertisement in the free Metro newspaper suggesting that reading the paper not only passes the time but also helps you avoid eye contact with strangers, preventing awkwardness. When I read that, I couldn’t help but be surprised: “What’s wrong with eye contact? It’s not such a bad thing.” Maybe I’m a bit impolite, but I really enjoy observing strangers on the train. I like watching groups of girls chatting and laughing, completely lost in time (and I especially love listening to them, especially those who speak proper British English!). I enjoy looking at people coming home from work, their faces tired after a long day; I admire young couples in their most stylish outfits sitting together, flirting with each other (I’m sure they’ve just met, and it’s evident from the way they face each other, laughing affectionately!). But in London, it’s like this: people are afraid of bothering others. When they ask your age, they won’t forget to add, “if you don’t mind telling me.” They avoid making eye contact in the elevator and keep their distance while walking on the sidewalk. Even housemates behave similarly. I live with an Irish guy, an English guy, and a couple, but we don’t talk much. Every time we meet, it’s just a brief exchange of a few short sentences, ending with “have a good evening.” We don’t share household items either. Each person washes their own pots, cleans their own dishes, and uses their own things.
But don’t misunderstand. Once you get to know the English, they can be the warmest people you’ve ever known.
Embark on a captivating journey through the streets of London as I fall in love with this enigmatic city. Join me in exploring its parks, museums, and vibrant atmosphere, as I discover the warmth hidden beneath the surface of its reserved culture.