Originally written January 7th.
So I started out in a posh neighborhood in a nice hostel. Then I moved to the sticks into a kinda crappy hostel. That kind of crappy hostel became home, with friends who became family, and all those old problems most people my age encounter in their first place: bad water, limited space, millions of roommates so you can afford the rent, not the most comfortable bed, etc, etc. But now, I’ve upgraded to the best of both worlds. I’m living in one of the richest neighborhoods in all of London, but living in a small humble room to keep my humility. Or something.
I’ve officially moved into my new place in Kensington. When I told the only true Londoner I know – aka Jac’s boyfriend Chris – this, his response was ‘You lucky sod.’ Apparently, this is the neighborhood to be in. Chris said it was where all the rich kids lived and went to school, and he dreamed of living there when he grew up and made millions. It is really beautiful. If you want to Google Earth it, I’m in postcode SW7 4JZ, about a five minute walk from Glouster Road tube station. The buildings are these old white ones with columns and old brick churches. One of the selling points for me were the gardens. I have access to one of the private gardens in the center of my block. Go watch Notting Hill, and see the garden that Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant climb into when they play ‘When You Say Nothing At All’. That’s what my garden is like—down to the towering trees and the gazebo. It has lined paths all around it, and is always lush and green due to the gardeners who come 3 times a week. It blocks out all the light in the area, enough so that you can even see the stars on those rarely clear England nights. I love it so much. Within a 10 minute walk are other smaller public gardens, and Hyde Park. Notting Hill is a 10 minute tube ride, and the center of the city is maybe 15 minutes. Sure as hell beats the 45 it was taking me to get into town from Hendon Central.
As for the place itself, it’s a good thing I grew up living in small spaces. My room use to be the mudroom for the flat. No lie. It has a door that goes out into an alleyway where people use to come in after being in the garden. It has a sink, and where the shower is I think was the area to wash off their Wellington boats. The shelves that hold my clothes are the right size for shoe racks, and my closet is….well, fine for me, but Breanne would cry ;-). I had to shove, but I got my luggage under the bed, and cut out some pictures and such. The girl before me left gold and pink curtains, and the duvet and pillowcases that I got from my landlord are pink, orange, and yellow. Oh, and the walls are yellow. All in all, it’s pretty cozy and comfortable. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have guests, since my bed is my bed, couch, and kitchen table, but we could make it work. Honestly, for those who have seen my little room at home, it’s about that size. With a sink, closet, and shower. Yea. Grammy is scared of my heater due to the fact that its really a pipe being supported on old VHS tapes. But it does the job alright. I leave it on all day, so the room stays comfortable.
Right now, there is one girl living in the room next to me, and that’s about it. There are 3 double rooms, then a single room way in the back behind my landlord’s ‘office’ (which is really the full size kitchen that use to be used when it was all one flat). My landlord turned all of the rooms into studios, so its like we have mini-flats in this big one. The girl next to me is moving out on Tuesday, so it’ll be just me. Oh, and Matt and his wife aka my landlords. He owns a bunch of properties like this, and he and his wife just move from place to place where there are empty rooms. This is kind of weird since Matt doesn’t sleep. Seriously. He told me he sleeps maybe 3 hours a night. They aren’t loud or anything, but its still weird to see the light on all night.
The neighborhood is nice. Jac and I went to one of the pubs and had Sunday roast this week. There is a laundry matte, a huge Sainsbury’s (grocery store), a 24 hour Tesco, some cafes, a bank, a post office, and the Tube all within a 5 minute walk from my flat. The nice thing is that the buildings are so huge that all of this is in a noisier part of the area, but you turn on to my street and you can’t hear a sound. I’m going out late with Jac next week, so we’ll see how far the night bus is *note: its maybe 10 minutes walk. In very well lit and monitored areas*. I feel doubly safe because the dorms for Ithaca and Boston University’s study abroad programs are on my block, as well as 3 hotels with security cameras.
I’ve only been there a few days, and I’m LOVING being unpacked and settled, but I miss my hostelmates. I miss walking into my room, dropping my stuff, then going into the hang out room and being greeted with calls and kisses. I miss talking to Todd while we’re making dinner, or bantering with Andy, or talking with Jason or Darren or Mathason while we’re all just relaxing, or chilling with the girls while Harry and Stephen dance around to some random YouTube video. We’re all on facebook, and I’ve heard from a few of them, but it was hard to say goodbye. I hope I get to see them again. I’ll make sure I do.
London Backpackers: Have you heard the word? ;-)