So, I live in London now. It’s not exactly home yet; after all, I’ve only been here for seven days.
It’s big and busy and more than a little bit scary for a girl who spent most of her childhood living in the countryside. (So I lived in a city during my university years, but – as cliched as it sounds – nowhere else can really compare with London, can it?) It’s alive and buzzing with life twenty-four hours a day, wherever you are. It’s bright and loud and there is always something happening, somewhere. Perhaps the hardest thing to get used to, as silly as it sounds, is all the people. There are so many people, everywhere you turn. On the buses, on the Underground, on the streets; it’s a mix of leisurely tourists and hurrying commuters, holidaying visitors versus native Londoners. Of course, there’s busy and crowded, much as you would find in any major city. Then there’s London. (Let’s not even talk about rush hour…)
However, the people and the transport and the general day-to-day living has not been the most challenging part of my move to the capital. All these things, I can cope with; that’s not to say it’s easy getting used to life here, but it can be done. No, the hardest part is living in a strange city and being virtually on my own, every day. My flatmate works full-time and is often out in the evenings; in any case, we don’t know each other that well yet anyway, so things are still a little bit awkward as we get used to living together. Other than that, the few people that I know in London have their own jobs and social lives, as you would naturally assume. I’m not complaining and nor would I expect anything else. It’s not that I want someone to hold my hand and show me the way, but it would just be nice to have some company sometimes. After all, there’s only so much time you can spend by yourself before you start a little bit mad…
Perhaps it’s because I have nothing to do here at the moment that I feel this isolation all the more strongly. My course doesn’t begin until January, but I’m trying to acclimatise to London living in these few weeks before Christmas; the problem is finding things to do with all my free time while the rest of the population goes to work every morning. Moving to London a month early seemed a good idea at the time but now that I’m here, I wake up each day wondering what I should do; I don’t want to waste a minute, but equally I’m not a tourist and travelling around can get expensive.
I think that the problem is that I don’t feel quite at ease here yet; at the moment, I’m just waiting for the day when I’ll be going home for the Christmas period. I’m not really living in London. Hopefully, once the new year comes around and I start classes, things will settle down.
Now, how about a cookie?
These cookies may quite possibly be my favourite cookies in the entire world. Bittersweet dark chocolate, crunchy pecan nuts (my personal favourite, though I imagine most types will work here; pistachios, roasted and salted, might be nice too) and tangy sea salt combined with a chewy, almost caramel-scented cookie, they are a more grown-up version of the childhood chocolate chip. Also, if you’re not yet convinced by the combination of sweet and salt, this is a good starting point; the salt simply enhances the chocolate flavour, rather than being overtly salty.
Just one word of warning: these cookies are extremely moreish! (This may be good or bad, depending on your level of self-control!)
(Cookies inspired by this recipe from Joy the Baker.)