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…