Cultural Shock! Here you are!

Italians! Italians everywhere! Or not?? I don’t know, but what I know for sure is that the problem is something else.

I’ve always been proud to be the one in my group that was always listening to the english radio, watching english movies and reading only english websites. When I was in Italy I did everything I could to immerse myself in a language that I liked so much.

Now that I’m here, the opposite thing is happening and not because I want to. It’s like my subconscious is trying to go back to my comfort zone, or it’s like that my brain is hoping to hear my mother-tongue once again.

Maybe I should explain myself clearer…

Before leaving Italy, I always listened to english podcasts for at least 3 hours a day to get used to the accent, I was reading english books just for fun and I enjoyed watching to BBC programming. I mean, I was hearing more english than italian when I was at home. Sometimes I even started to think in english!

I hear italian people…

Now I’ve been in London for just two days and the opposite is happening: I’m thinking in italian, hearing italian people and when I found them I immediately start a conversation with them in order to speak my native language. I even think to hear people speaking in italian when they are clearly talking to eachother in english. Without thinking I packed in my luggage 2 italian books and a third one has been left in Italy.

What’s wrong with me?? Is my brain toying with me? Am I subconsciously rejecting this place? I decided to come here but my stupid brain is trying its best not to let go and embrace change. It wants to go back, to feel secure once again in a known place. I’ve never felt this emotion before and it’s very daunting.

My english is good, very good, but when talking casually I feel clumsy while speaking. Even just for saying sorry or engaging in simple conversations.

Is this cultural shock? Home sickness? Resistance to change? I don’t know… I only know that this feeling has to go away.

You enter in a coffee shop and… oh! They offered me a job!

There’s not much to tell today. This morning after breakfast I went to Costa Coffee for a cappuccino (see above why) and the italian barista (and this is not just my imagination) said that they were looking for a new guy and that I should have left my cv there.

… WOW!

After a morning spent on trying to solve my mank account issue (not solved), sending emails and texts to who has a room to rent and eating burger and fries in the pub where I stay, I spent the rest of the day viewing a couple of rooms.

The Muslim district

The first room was in the East Ham district. As soon as I arrived, I noticed something.

Everybody here is Indian or middle-eastern. Every-freaking-body!!!

While I was walking on the street exploring the area before going to see the room, I understood that tis place is not for me. I understand that London is a multicultural place and that’s normal to find areas exclusively populated by certain foreigners, but I wasn’t comfortable staying there at all.

I canceled my appointment.

Déjà vu

I was on my way to see the second room of the day on holloway Street, north of Camden. So-so area, Sardinian flat mate. Fucking hell! I can’t believe I can’t speak English in this city even if I wanted to!!! Anyway we chat, we laugh, we exchange information and I see a room where there is barely room to stand up. Thanks, but no thanks.

Why déjà vu? Well you need to know something: the first flat that I shared with other people while studying at the university in Turin. In this flat there were 2 Sardinian guys! (and it hasn’t been a great experience).

The first house i see in london is occupied by someone from Sardinia! HUGE DÉJÀ VU!!! Has something changed in the Matrix? Where are the agents???

I have dinner at KFC. Absolutely disgusting!!! Never again!!

Tomorrow and the following day I’ll have just salads, so that I can feel well again.

Second day, first adaptment

I’m thinking about changing my priorities now. At first I thought that I should have tackled my move this way:

  • Find a place to live;
  • Get a National Insurance Number;
  • Open a bank account;
  • Find work.

Now, since I don’t get paid to find a room, but to work and since that I’m looking at places that cost as much as my bed at the hostel, I realized that many landlords want to find someone who is already working, so that they know the rent will be paid at the end of the month.

So now my task list will be:

  • Find work
  • Find a place to live;
  • Get a National Insurance Number;
  • Open a bank account;

I can always stay longer at my hostel, but the most important this is to have the money to eat!

That’s why I’m saying bye to you for now. Time to finish my CVs and check-out from this tiring day. The tomorrow is waiting for me, it will be hard and tiring as ever.


Another Italian in London

It all started today at 9:30 in the morning with a flight headed to London packed with people. That’s the beginning of my craziest idea ever: to have a new life in the UK.

We know very well why someone would do that: it’s because it has become very difficult to find a job, maybe because we are fed up with our politicians, maybe because each year we have more taxes and less services, or just because the will to change has sparked in our mind, the will to leave and to not look back.

I’m writing this post the evening following my arrival in London, so don’t expect a perfect article, I’m exhausted. I’m staying in a hostel in Greenwich, the St. Christopher’s Inn.

I’m already in love with Greenwich! There are pubs and fast foods nearby so I can please the foodie inside me. Then there’s the market that I’m going to see tomorrow, there’s the Thames River and the university, which has a huge park inside. All of this is available just by walking for 10 minutes from where I’m staying.

The day started with me standing in queues everywhere. A 30 minutes queue to board for my Ryanair flight (A queue that only Italians can make, with people trying to cut it as soon as possible). A 15 minutes queue with a lot of people around for boarding into the bus that was going to take me to the Victoria Coach Station.

I wished that my first meal in London was a traditional and cosy lunch in a pub with something typical and local, but instead I went into a Subway for a sandwich. I mistook the pickles for steamed courgettes (and I’m not even talking about the totally random selection of the bread). Subway always creates some comprehension problem.

Then, after activating my new Lebara international SIM card (which costs relatively low when calling international numbers), I was headed to my hostel.

Nice, but claustrophobic! This was my first experience in a hostel (not counting one that I had when I was 14, but I digress…) and I was already thinking that my nights would not be as relaxing as I wanted to. To prove my point, when I was back in my room during the evening after a tour of Piccadilly Circus, I found a Portuguese girl talking with her parents and keeping the lights on while 2 other people were trying to sleep. If she will keep this behaviour even this night… I’ll just punch her in the face!

This evening I went to a Speed Flatmating event, which means that I was in a club with other people that were looking for or offering a room to rent. Well, my expectations were quite wrong! My budget is low so I couldn’t afford the borough I was in that moment (Clapham). My budget: £400; average rent prices: £650. After an hour I just went out and took the tube to Piccadilly Circus.

During the day Piccadilly Circus is crawling with people and it’s wacky, but in the night is just spectacular! Today was just Wednesday night, but it was packed with people casually and sharply dressed having fun and the neons and the lights that were lightning the streets gave the place a unique feeling.

I went to Piccadilly for one reason only: my favourite video games DDR and Pump It Up are at the Piccadilly Trocadero! Too bad that this place is one of the most neglected arcades I’ve ever seen, so the games’ pads were so bad and my shoes weren’t the right one for the task. And most importantly there was no audience for me! Bleah! I need to find another place to go dancing.

Now I’m in my hostel’s chill-out lounge and I’m writing this post while eating chocolate chip cookies from Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s is my saviour! How could I ever had the classic English lunch-break meal that every penguin (suit-wearing guy) have at work (the club-sandwich) without you being open until midnight!

Silly me, I was thinking about having my first dinner in London in a pub eating Bangers and Mash, and instead I ended my day eating a club sandwich at 10pm. Oh well, it’s the first day and I’m still a little shaken.

And now I’m even sleepy. A punch in the face to the girl and off to bed!

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