During my time spent in London, I had the unique opportunity to partake in a homestay experience and live with a British family. I’m not quite sure how to begin telling you about my homestay, because overall, home life in London is a lot different than in the States. Before I divulge further details, I want to start by saying the homestay experience brought me one of my best friends. Ultimately, my homestay would not be the same without my incredible roommate Maddy- after countless sleepovers, girl talk and bonding over London, I don’t know how my life felt complete before meeting her!
It is hard to describe how drastically different life is in London, but I’ll start off with the positives. London is HUGE and a VERY expensive place to live, and in any housing market, location is everything. The best part of living in homestays is experiencing life in one of London’s many boroughs. In a huge city, it is far too easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the city. As one of London’s most up and coming neighborhoods, Tufnell park supposedly attracts “yummy mommies who do yoga” and is home to wealthy bankers, artists and stars. Considered to be a prime London location, my homestay was just a 5-minute walk from a Tube station and a 15-minute Tube ride into central London (compared to the 45-minute commute of many others on my trip). Nailing the convenience factor, my local grocery store called Budgens was just around the corner from my homestay and I am truly going to miss it. The food in London contains far less preservatives than the States and is prided on freshness, large availability of GMO-free and organic practices. While I loved the quality of the food, I cannot wait to have a home cooked meal as I haven’t cooked in over three months now.
Living in America, I will be the first to admit, we are completely spoiled in our way of life, and it proved very difficult to adjust to the contrasting lifestyle in London. I started with the positives of my homestay experience, but as in any situation, there are negatives as well. It felt very odd to live in someone’s family home, but not actually be apart of the family. To be quite blunt, I was also very uncomfortable with the number of people living in the house- 8 people to be exact, and this included 3 boyfriends, and we all shared 1 shower. The kitchen alone was a completely out of world sight and was comprised of 2 mini fridges (Maddy and I were allotted 1 shelf to share), a broken wash machine with the load size of one bath towel, and a stove and oven we couldn’t figure out how to use the entire semester. The washing machine is actually a pretty hilarious experience, but something I never want to endure again. After a severe malfunction, I was completely overcome by a flood of soapy blue water gushing out at me and overcoming the entire kitchen floor resulting in my clothes being completely destroyed (and to make matters worse, this with on my 21st birthday).
I really don’t want to sound so negative because there were so many things about living in London I will miss, but I cannot wait for my room, American appliances and home cooking. This is not goodbye forever, this is goodbye for now, London!