We always knew this time would come – most expats do – but we just didn’t know when. Until now. After almost four years of calling this manic mosh pit of a city our home-sweet-home, we have decided that it’s time to say goodbye. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but our feet are getting itchy, our minds are a tad weary, and all the other little signs were pointing to the need for a change. A certain someone has done this whole ‘see ya later London’ thing before but for me, the thought of uprooting and leaving our London life behind is still a little overwhelming. Aside from all the logistical issues of packing and storing our stuff, and plotting our next steps, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do that will truly get me ready to leave.
Being a temporary Londoner has been thrilling, frustrating, engaging, challenging, rewarding – just throw in the whole gambit of human emotion and take your pick of what it might be on any given day. There are things about this city I despise, there have been brief moments where it has turned me into a person I don’t like (mainly when public transport is involved), but nowhere is perfect and all that seems trivial when I think about all the opportunities and experiences I’ve had here. So in honour of this city which I clearly love so much, these are the ten things, in no particular order, I’ll miss most about London…
I’ve always considered air travel to be a luxury. The fact that we can fly across lands and oceans and find ourselves in a different country or continent within hours (ok, sometimes days for those of us flying home to NZ) will never cease to amaze me. Having the privilege of flying so frequently and easily is a luxury I don’t take for granted, but never had I flown in such luxury until I experienced Business Class with Emirates. It’s something I’ve always wanted to treat myself to but could never justify the price, or was never crafty enough to manipulate any loyalty programmes to help pay for it, so when Emirates gave us the option to upgrade for a fraction of the usual price, it was a deal we couldn’t turn down.
Even though we’re seasoned fliers, we’ve recently been spoilt with the short flight times across Europe and as a result, the thought of sitting on a plane for around ten hours at a time now fills us with a sense of dread. My bum goes numb at the thought of all that seat shuffling, my stomach turns a little with every flashback to those horrendous inflight meals, and there’s that waiting game to find out who you’ll have the pleasure of shuffling and snoring, I mean, sitting next to… Travelling with a partner has somewhat reduced that last anxiety, and now, travelling in Business Class has done the same for the first two. Here’s what we thought…
Most people have definitely heard of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s bustling capital city, but it has come to my attention that not many people would consider it as much of a tourist destination. They claim it doesn’t compare to the likes of Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore and mainly see it as a stopover point or gateway to other parts of Malaysia such as Penang and Langkawi, but I think Kuala Lumpur deserves a bit of attention! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to KL, perhaps five or six, but the last two as an adult have definitely been my favourite!
When I was younger we’d just swing by and visit friends and family but in the last couple of trips, I’ve really had a chance to explore the city from another point of view… one of a proper tourist and I definitely think it’s a gem of a city! Ideally, you’d have a few days to visit all the main sights such as the city’s three towers, the Islamic Arts Museum, Merdeka Square, and still get in all your shopping as well as all the food. However, if you must insist on a whistle stop visit… let’s focus on the food with some touristy stuff thrown in for good measure and you’re still guaranteed a good time!
Long before I acquired a certain someone as my regular dining and travel buddy, I had some other partners in crime. Throughout my high school and university days, I was mostly a single lady and I did what other footloose and fancy free ladies did… hit the town with my girls! Back then, the travel destinations were not as extensive or exotic but there were still plenty of road trips, beach holidays, shopping days, and always lots of eating and drinking along the way. We laughed, we cried, we did things we would never ever do now… but it was always fun.
I still see many of these ladies regularly (by London standards anyway)… a few I have known since the tender age of 11, some since university, and others I’ve met more recently; but all I’m happy to call my friends. As everyone’s work lives and social schedules get busier and busier, it gets harder and harder to fit in quality girl time so I was super excited when a group of us booked in a weekend away to Bordeaux; no boys allowed, this was a girls only weekend!
Food and travel; two things which are never far from my mind and two which are never mutually exclusive in my life. In my humble opinion, they go hand in hand – like salt and pepper, Bert and Ernie, or churros and chocolate. When we’re off on our jaunts abroad, I care about seeing the sights and visiting the attractions, I really do, but I almost care more about the food.
On the rare occasion we do some research, all those google searches and blog trawling will be about the food. Always. Because we all know that the main sights are religiously marked on those ever so helpful city maps but they never mark the best restaurants, cafes or hole in the wall joints do they? Never! The best, the most authentic, the signature dishes – I need to try them all because god forbid you all think we’ll eat any old thing from any old restaurant on any old street corner.
When I was a foot loose and fancy free single lady, I didn’t really care for Valentine’s Day. That silly little cupid with his overpriced red roses and heart shaped chocolates can move right on because this lady was not falling for it. However, in the last couple of years, the 14th of February has held a special place in my heart… but probably not for the reasons you’re thinking!
Does anyone else remember those chain email things back in their tween/teen years? I have no idea what the chains were about but do remember that they required you to forward onto five friends otherwise the chain would be broken and you would be cursed forever. Well I never passed them on and if this is what they had in mind for a cursed life, I think I made the right choice! However, as it’s the new year and all, I thought I would buck the trend this one time and add a link to the Sisterhood of World Bloggers chain which is currently in motion. And, because The Mayfairy is desperate to know my pet peeve…