London: Settling In

 Good news.

London is going well.


I’ve got the hang of settling in to places – there’s a pattern, a routine to it. I can draw up a mental list and systematically work my way through it, once two-thirds of the items are ticked I officially count as “settled”. The process takes a few weeks of concerted effort, but it isn’t arduous: I like moving to new places and putting down the foundations of a new life on my terms & conditions. Moving away from somewhere hurts like Hell…moving to somewhere is a wonderful opportunity.

The foundations of my life stay the same, the same as everybody else’s: social circles; exercise; hobbies, work; “special” places. I’ve realised that within the first 2 weeks of moving to a new place I’ve set up the daily patterns for the rest of my stay. Hence why I try not to spend too much time stuck at home in the beginning, even when I’ve got nothing to do.

Stage 1 is the most important: Registrations. Filling out paperwork, changing my address, obtaining proof of my new address, finding a GP surgery, getting my work ID card and email address. None of this is ever straightforward (I had to act suitably aggrieved in front of admin staff to get my ICL registration accelerated to a useful speed).

Stage 2 is establishing my hobbies and entertainment. This time around I put “library membership” at the top of the list: I’ve gone over a year without library membership and quite frankly I think it’s damaged me. I need to read a f*ck-load of books to sort myself out and get a bit of creativity back into the system. Shortly after that I sorted out my gym membership. I know I’m cycling everywhere and people who aren’t my mother continually tell me that I’m too skinny anyway…but the Imperial College gym has a free sauna complex. A free sauna complex! You can see Switzerland has changed my priorities

Stage 3 is sorting out a social life. I’m a bit slower of the mark with this, mainly because I know I won’t be here for that long. Still, despite being an introvert I do need to be around people in a social context. Meetup is again coming to my rescue. The first thing I found was a singles club for science nerds – don’t laugh at me, please – and I checked out the Science Museum’s Late night opening with them. Dancing options are being explored, too. I’m a bit reluctant to join any student societies because I think the presence of youthful and innocent undergraduates will just depress me…

Stage 4 is finding out my daily routine. When do I come into work? Where do I go to drink coffee on the weekends? How often do I tidy my room and service my bike? How long will I spend in the sauna complex per week? Important questions like that. Like I said above, you gotta hurry with this or you’ll get yourself stuck into a habit you dislike.


Fingers crossed the coming months will bring more of the good news…


9 thoughts on “London: Settling In

  1. For science-y stuff to do in London, I recommend following @sciencelondon on twitter or going to

    There’s also I’ve got a voucher coming to me in the post for 2for1 but only for weekdays. What’s your weekday availability like and would you want to tour with me?

    I can also put you in touch with some of my London aquaintances if you like?

    Glad to hear you’re making a home for yourself.

  2. This post gives me a little taste of what I’m about to experience moving to New Zeland in 2 months and a half. I’m already at stage 1 (applying to get residency and to university). I hope to be able to get as much sorted as I can before I go to move on to the next steps faster 🙂

    Glad to read you’re settling in nicely.

    • With the wonders of the internet it’s pretty easy to scout out potential hobbies, activities (and cycling routes!) well in advance of moving. When I went over to the USA I was able to go out hiking on my first weekend – not only did it kick my jetlag but on that hike I made friendships that have now spanned several years. It helps me feel less of a stranger in the new place, too.
      Good luck with the NZ paperwork – I hope it doesn’t cause you too much hassle!

  3. Have fun. I love London so much. Highgate and Hampstead are good days-out places if you need time out from the madness. I have a fairly good knowledge of coffee houses. Which area are you in. I’ll let you know of I know anywhere good near you 🙂

    • I’m in the area of Streatham Hill, just south of Brixton. Any coffee house recommendations are warmly received! Hampstead Heath sounds like a good weekend trip, I’ll make sure I venture over there.

      • Take a swimsuit and go the ladies bathing pond for an hour or so. It’s wonderful there. My favourite favourite place to swim. I have a friend who lives in Brixton who recommends Brixton Village to anyone who will listen. There’s an organic burger place, where the food is amazing apparently. Streatham Common is also great fun for cycling, very hilly!

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