Anita arrived in London at the beginning of January. She is a student at the Department of Italian studies at the University of Bologna, currently she is enrolled at the University of London (UCL) where she is doing her Erasmus period. Her dream job is to work with people, rather than with things, maybe in a cultural centre or library.
As part of The Big Fish English Writing Project, Anita has written this article about how to make London feel like home . . .
How to create ‘your’ London.
By Anita Masini
The other day I was taking off my trainers after a run in Regent’s Park and it occurred to me that I was feeling really quite at home in London (or at least I didn’t feel like a lost fish swimming around in the English Channel!).
Here’s my trick to make you feel just a little bit more at home here in London.
I want to branch out.
I’m sure, as member of the Big Fish English community, you agree with me that living in a new city is one of the most exciting experiences you can have, even better, if the city is London. Chilling out drinking a beer with friends on the South bank of The Thames, attending a concert of an unknown band in the pub you are in by chance, eating mango, Asian rice, and a slice of Italian cake and then washing it all down with a German beer (OK, British beer if you prefer, but it isn’t as easy as you might think to find Britishness in London!). And, of course, people to meet with exciting stories – as soon as you arrive, you can’t wait to branch out and get your new life started.
However, nobody said it would be easy to leave your everyday life back home for an ‘unknown land’. After a while (maybe a period longer than a while, it depends on you), you start missing your daily life, things you had always taken for granted, like a good “piatto di pasta al pomodoro” if you’re an Italian. Don’t get me wrong, you can get it if you’re a good cook or if you live close to an authentic Italian restaurant – but it’s one of the those things you just can’t live without.
If you have shared this feeling, keep your chin up! Pssst, there is a solution – bring your daily life here!
Yes, I know, you’re thinking “What a silly idea that is! I left my home town because I felt stuck in a rut and I wanted break free!”, but don’t misunderstand me.
A little place where I can feel at home.
My point is this: in order to deal with the difficulties of living in a big city, I needed to find a little place where I could feel at home. Since having a “piatto di pasta al pomodoro” each day would not be really safe for my health, I decided to replace it with a daily run – and Regent’s Park was the perfect place to do it. This is why, each day I put on an old and worn out t-shirt, I do my trainers up and select the most energetic playlist I have (I’m too lazy to get going without it) and I start running. I sometimes used to run in Italy too, but in London it has been become a ritual.
And it makes me feel better.
One rule to follow.
I have just one rule to follow: it is strictly forbidden to go along the same road for two consecutive days because I would get bored.
I’ve always been into sport, this is why my escape takes the form of a run. However, it could be whatever you want . . even something random like choosing a particular bench and reading the latest Time Out of London you’ve just picked up from an underground station.
Just go out, and find ‘your own London’!