Moving to London & Settling In
It’s been exactly 2 months since we moved from San Francisco to London. Time flies! Though we’ve travelled quite a bit in the past 2 months (went back to the US twice, visited Madrid & Prague), London is already feeling more like home.
Getting ready for the move was a whirlwind. We’ve heard that fully furnished apartments/flats are pretty common in London, which is great! So we decided to give away/sell all of our furniture and pack away most of our household items and leave them in the States. We didn’t want to deal with international moving, so we decided to pack minimally and take what we can with us.
After multiple trips to the dumpster and Goodwill and realizing how much stuff we have accumulated over the years, we have packed our lives into the above - 2 backpacks, 2 carry-ons, 2 large suitcases, and 2 medium suitcases. That’s all we took to London! Still surprised that we were able to fit everything without the suitcases being overweight!
We tried our best to live a minimalist lifestyle, especially after reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven’t read the book but want to re-organize your stuff, highly recommend! We thought we were doing pretty well in terms of not cluttering our place, but through this move process, we’ve realized how much useless STUFF we had. Hopefully we can channel our inner Marie Kondo in London and live a minimalist lifestyle.
It was a crazy few days leading up to our move date but we were so relieved once we got to the airport, checked in all our luggages, and hopped on the plane. Started the flight with a glass of champagne and we were able to finally relax and enjoy the flight.
Then, we arrived in LONDON!
Probably hard to believe it, but I’ve never been to London. When my husband asked me “would you move to London?”, without hesitation, I said “YES” knowing nothing about London. We thought it was a great opportunity for us to try living abroad and London seemed great to make it a smooth transition. It’s a big city and it’s an English speaking country! As soon as we landed in London, I’ve fallen in love with the city. It’s so vibrant, but not too crazy, a good mix of modern day and history, I can go on and on.
Our first stop after we checked into our hotel was to the popular Indian restaurant, Dishoom.
Our good friends back home gave us a gift certificate to Dishoom as a going away gift (we are lucky to have such great friends!). They said this place was their favorite when they visited London before. This was our first meal in London, and WOW, we know now why there is such a long line all the time! It was a great start to our adventure!
The iconic red telephone booths are everywhere in London! I didn’t realize how common it was here. Doesn’t seem like they are actually in use but it’s cool that the city decided to leave these iconic structures instead of tearing them down.
Living in the city without a car made us walk everywhere. Also, the public transportation system here is so great! You can go everywhere so easily. But since the weather has been still so nice here, we try to walk more and see the city by foot. We’ll save the tube/bus rides for when it’s super cold and rainy!
Ran into Chinatown one day as we were just walking around. Not a huge Chinatown especially compared to the one in SF, but still has a lot of restaurants, asian grocery stores, bubble tea spots, and lots of tourists!
First couple days were super busy running around looking for a place to live. We had no idea which neighborhood to live in so we looked at few different areas and probably viewed approximately 20-25 flats within 3-4 days. TIRING! But we got lucky and found a place we really liked!
We had about a week or so left in our hotel room so we decided to finally do more “London” things in town.
Similar to New York, there’s tons of musicals and shows here! We just went into one of the many ticket stalls and was able to get pretty good seats for Motown for that night. The ticket prices were pretty reasonable, way cheaper than the US! We enjoyed the musical (tons of good oldie music!). The theatre itself was gorgeous as well.
In between viewing flats and getting adjusted to the timezone, we also ate a lot of good food! We passed by Nando’s, which is one of the must-eat chicken places in London and tried it out.
An Afro-Portugese inspired chicken dishes originally from South Africa. Sounds like it’s a mix of a lot of different cuisine and culture! The chicken was delicious! If you are looking for a quick, casual but juicy chicken, this is the place.
We go to Covent Garden quite often because it’s close to Leicester Square, Chinatown, SoHo, and etc. Also, it has a lot of shops and restaurants!
On the weekends, it gets super crowded with locals and tourists, but during the week days, it’s not as bad. I love how it always have these little carts with flowers and plants all around Covent Garden. So cute!
We always loved going for a casual brunch date back in the States, so randomly popped into a place that was super cute and quaint called the Black Penny!
Left: Duck Hash that Ryan ordered. I don’t even like duck that much, but this was delicious!
Right: Never had a proper English breakfast, so wanted to try it out! Not a big fan of the roasted/grilled tomato, but the rest was yum. Can’t go wrong with bacon and scrambled eggs. The beans at first felt a bit weird for breakfast, but with the toast and eggs, it actually ended up being flavorful!
We did a few more touristy things in the first 2 weeks such as walking by the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. We actually walk pass this area almost everyday now, and this is tourist central! So many people here! We haven’t gone inside the National Gallery yet (saving all the museums and gallery visits for the winter time when it’s rainy and freezing outside) but heard it’s great.
The London Eye! You can probably see this from so many different angles, it’s easy to spot!
Wasn’t intentionally looking for it, but as we were just strolling by, found a good view of the London Eye. Heard it’s also great to actually go up on it. We are both not a huge fan of the height, so we’ll save that for later when we have visitors!
That was our first weeks in London! Yes, it was hectic moving and finding a flat, but once we found the flat and moved in (thank goodness for Amazon Prime! We got all our household items that we needed delivered so easily), it was all uphill. So far, enjoying the experience and loving the city of London!