An Italian in London
I don’t think I am your average Italian spending some time in London. Apart from anything else, I now live here with my English partner and our child.
The start was very typical though. I first fell in love with London as a teenager when I came here on a short summer study holiday – you know the type: one hundred Italian 15 year-olds with identical bags blocking the streets. Back then London seemed both exciting and a bit scary. I was fascinated by Soho but got lost in the small streets. I loved Camden and its market but it was dirtier then, full of both punks and junk. Incredibly, I also liked English food. Unlike my friends I didn’t spend all my time eating at McDonalds. Instead I ate jacket potatoes with cheese and beans or, when I had money, fish and chips.
I also have experience of the fun London. When I was in my twenties I spent a summer here sharing a four bedroom house with six Spanish students near Brick Lane in the cool East End. People say that there are no bars in London which stay open until really late. But Spanish people know how to have fun and had no problem at all finding us late night drinking spots.
Moving to London
At first, moving to London more permanently was quite difficult. For one thing at 30 I felt older than other people doing the same thing. Secondly, I resisted the temptation to find just any job and looked for work which I had experience and qualifications for. This meant I had to be very patient. My first couple of jobs were only temporary, just for one or two days and it took two months before I had my first real interviews. I also missed my friends and family. It was a difficult balance between trying to make new English friends and meeting Italians to share our troubles and the things we were homesick for without any kind of language difficulties.
I really love living in London now and here are my tips on how to have a good time here: •London is a great place to have fun for a short period and to live but you need to decide if you are moving to London or just spending a couple of months here. •The better your English is the easier it is to find a job but it is also easy to improve your English once you get here. •Don’t surround yourself with friends from your own country. Try to spend time in international groups and make English friends. •Doing language courses and having a job are good ways to meet people. •Be patient and realistic when looking for a job. Job agencies are generally good here. •Try jacket potatoes!