Copied over from old blog: http://dancinginviolentfields.com/monopoly-from-blue-to-black/
Back in 2015....
I arrived to Heathrow airport and spent so long contemplating whether I would have to leave the airport. About 2 hours later, and many messages passed back and forwards to my Mum (She has been my rock throughout this whole overseas experience) I knew it was now or never. Collecting a city map I made my way to the tube which I would catch all the way to London Bridge station.
The train station was extremely overwhelming. Never in my life have I seen so many waves of people entering through every which way of the station; like a tsunami as it breaks the banks of a beach town.
I started to notice a familiar pattern between the people abiding in London. They moved swiftly and don’t wait for anyone. To survive the cruelness you should never stop in the middle of the footpath to check your phone, or even to think. You don’t have time to think in London; you just move. Being amongst a crowd of such intensely focussed and ambitious people made me constantly compare that to the relaxed atmosphere of Greece. Yeah, the tension was high in Greece as they looked like they were always fighting- but it was probably about something as small as the cost of a fish. Who knows with them though. That’s what I grew to love!
I also grew to love their stares of judgement which they would later gossip about with their small circle of friends. Whom have all probably never left the island once in their lives (Oh maybe they made a few trips here and there to the big smoke of Athens).
I was on Kythira for a while and therefore begun to understand island culture. Coming into London was foreign again for me. Nobody stares at you. I was used to this level of staring in Australia, little to none. But because I had become accustomed to it in Greece, I began to think that there was something wrong with them not staring. Anyways this whole heap of useless jumble which occupied myÂ brainÂ passed the time on the tube quite effectively.
I was such a classic tourist with my overly stuffed luggage wearing the warmest items I could find from my summer gear. This consisting of black jeans, sneakers, a crop top and a white button up t-shirt as a lousy excuse for a jumper. I wandered around hopeless as I could not wrap my head around the fact that the street names are on the side of the buildings, not on metal posts like in Australia. Because the maps app only works via internet, you’ll mostly find me standing outside a hotel, cafe or mainly McDonald’s, trying to savage any WIFI connection available. The amount of spam emails I actually receive now from signing up to that many hotel companies as a guest is overwhelming! Oh well, I suppose it’s just an instant connection for when thoseÂ hotels accommodate me in the future… look at me go, always thinking of the positives in such a negative situation!
I am a member on the online travel networking site called couch surfing. It’s actually quite brilliant (see here for my profile and say something nice if you so wish to do so: https://www.couchsurfing.com/dashboard). Before I had arrived in London I expressed via this website of my arrival/departure date to the city and if anyone would like to meet up/host me for a night or two). I got a response from a lovely Canadian girl and we ended up hanging out for the entire day. We bonded over coffee, expensive pizza, our inability to understand how the tube works because we were talking too much about irrelevant topics. We even managed to have an inspirational lesson with a man from Kenya on the steps outside the bus station. Random times are my favourite, remember. Turns out the man from Kenya was just trying to lure us into his next personal growth project. Referring as us the ‘seeds’ to something incredible. I remember distinctly hearing what sounded like his echoing voice rise from below my hostel room the next night as I lay in bed with a smile confirming he has just captured his next victim of self positivity!
My accommodation for the first two nights was right near the London bridge which made it so convienent for bulk exploring! Which is what I intended to achieve on my second day in London. Oh and also to buy a cheap scarf (which I managed to find at the local charity shop, yay me!) I found a small amount of warmth I’d been craving in that scarf and walked proudly around London with views of the London eye, Big Ben (dreaming of it as a kid) and Westminster Abbey.
Of course I ended up getting lost as I usually do but I found myself at Starbucks for some free WIFI (cue mild panics with Mum about where I would stay for the next couple of nights) I had nothing booked.. would I be in a house, hotel or end up on Old Kent Road??
Another exploration date with myself after I left my state of panic. More episodes of me getting unnecessarily lost before I came across the Tate Britain Museum on my way to Trafalgar square. Free admission to see the 500 years of British artwork exhibition which was incredible to witness. Since most of the museums were free; I would later go on during the week to visit the Tate Modern Museum, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery (Where I got to see the Audrey Hepburn exhibition). I definitely covered some ground during my time in London. I was all over that huge city like white on rice.
After the Tate Britain museum I thought it was an appropriate time to finally meet my pen pal which I had been writing letters and talking online to for about 2 years. We shared so many interests yet had never met before due to the distance between us. We decided to meet at the South Kensington Trains station at 3:30pm. Of course I was faced with another challenge as it is hard enough trying to find a friend whom you know what they look like in the crowd. So obviously trying to find her was difficult! But I managed.Â We got along like long lost old friends and chatted about life over a coffee.
Looking like a social butterfly I then said farewell to her to meet another friend at another train station to do something I hadn’t done since Greece…. have a beer. So refreshing haha.
I got back to my hostel and chatted to a guy from Barcelona whilst planning my next journey up North and further onto Ireland. He also managed to teach me a few Spanish words.
My accommodation for the next few days was with my friend Dani from Australia. I couldn’t wait to see a familiar face and remembered having a coffee date with her before she left for London. All I could do was praise God that I wouldn’t be on Old Kent Road. For I had trusted and he had provided. He was the dice in my monopoly game taking me all the way to Mayfair street.