Been here a little while…and public transit is out to get me
1 Week After Arrival: So the buses hate me (the adjusting period)
London is absolutely gorgeous–at least the center of the city is, but as you begin to get further and further from central, this can get a bit dicey. like Peckham, where my boyfriend and I were staying for our first six weeks. During our first week, we became very close with the loveliest of hosts, a 30 year-old woman who works for a local college. She took us out to pubs and to dinner. It was wonderful. She became a close friend. Her flat, equally as lovely. Her neighborhood…well…it was rundown and sketchy. Although Peckham is what people like to say is “up and coming” it still has a ways to go. But I took it in stride as our host, Rachel, showed us all the cool spots. Needless to say adjusting to the location was pretty easy and fun.
Adjusting to some other stuff…not so easy.
Take public transportation for example. The trains are easier to understand than back in the states–when they aren’t delayed or skipping your stop. The buses? They’re operated by people I can only assume are in league with the Dark Lord. They either don’t how up to our stop, pass our stop once we’re on it (and that’s if we’re lucky), or they “change destinations” mid-journey and drop us off in the middle of nowhere. Mind you this only happens to my boyfriend and I, not to any of our friend with whom we’ve compared notes.
The other thing that took some getting used to was the food. Whereas in America you can shop for the week, hell, even for the next two weeks, here you can only shop for a few days. We learned this the hard way. We were carrying home seven bags of groceries, grinning with a ridiculous amount of self-pleasure because we had saved so much money and were being so responsible and prepared. One of the local electrical workers kindly offered to eat some of our food, and as we passed him by, he grinned in way that–looking back–must have been one that said “You’ll learn, stupid Americans” because three days later it was all moldy, smelly, and all kinds of things that would indicate inadequacy for consumption. There was almost something supernatural about the way the food seemed to change colors by the hour.
Since that initial week, we’ve learned to avoid buses when we can (but occasionally we still end up with a green loaf of bread).