Things that I miss since moving to London.

Hi. Me again. Hope all is well.

As I write this, I am once again sitting in a café in West London where I am currently on my fourth attempt of writing this post as my first attempt a few days ago was disrupted by the fact that I had to leave the café as I could not stop crying. This will be explained in a later post I’m sure.

I am not going to lie, I severely struggled to come up with ideas for this post as I throw myself into the pressure cooker that is my mind mid-brainstorm, and also the fact that my life is actually not that exciting severely adds to the lack of divine inspiration. BUT, in the last week, I was super lucky to have been surrounded by plenty of Cork pals in various parts of London town which was an absolute treat and a half but further led me down the path of homesickness and attempting to download the RTÉ International Player to my low-storage phone.

First stop on the reunion train was brought on by a catch up with a group of fellow Cork expats who I went to stage school with (this term makes me gawk but to be truthful, I relate to Rachel Berry more than I’d care to admit) since the age of four and now live in London, so it is always super fab to spend time with these pals and see what they’re up to in the worlds of theatre and podcasts (“I’m Grand Mam” is now streaming on all major listening services x).

NEXT UP, came the much anticipated Spice Girls* London Appearance of 2019 and lemme tell you sis, Geri Halliwell and co were nowhere to be seen. For the first time ever, all seven gals in my friend group managed to get together in a city that wasn’t Cork and what a HOOLIE it was now in all fairness. Both my body and bank account accept all well wishes at this difficult time in the recovery process.

Aaaaanyway. Seeing all of these rebel pals made me think more about Cork and the things that I miss/crave since moving to London, and now I’m more than a tad homesick as I sip on this vegan hot cocoa which I accidentally ordered instead of regular hot chocolate because London has NOTIONS upon notions. Like, in all fairness, you’d never find that in Cork unless you were hitting up 143V on the Lower Glanmire Road which I have unfortunately never frequented because absolute trek and a half from town.

When you leave your hometown, it’s a given that there will be things that you miss from the get-go, such as your family, your friends, the sense of financial security and a Sky TV account, but as time goes on and you realise that you’re not on holidays and this is what adulting feels like, the things that you pine for become increasingly random but in the most significant sense possible.

Now, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned that I’ve lived outside of Cork before (I bring up my J1 a lot) but that was essentially just an extended hol in all of its glory and my longings have sorely changed since then, as now, when I think of home, I am no longer just hanging for a Bombshell with a side of curry cheese chips from KC’s**. So, although some of these may be Cork specific, I feel they all, if not the majority, become somewhat relative in the Venn diagram that is made up of the things that we long for upon leaving our hometowns.

Things that I miss since moving to London:

  1. “You around later?” The sheer SIMPLICITY of having friends that live within a twenty minute radius at most and being able to drop a text knowing that ye will more than likely be able to do something that night without having the big rigmarole of trying to pick a place that’s central enough for everyone, so that nobody’s commute is an hour and a half or that they’ll end up missing their last train home and have to splurge on an Uber.
  2. Being so close to the beach. Nothing like a drive down to Myrtleville to get your Sunday spin vibe going.
  3. A random one, but my couch. There is NOTHING like the comfort of your family home’s couch. Whether it be used for hangover napping/ general chilling/ Netflix binging/ it is honestly incomparable to whatever excuse for a sofa you have in your own gaff. I would also like to stretch this to having the fire lit to accompany one’s lying on the couch because it is the definition of bliss and I didn’t have heating for the first six months that I lived here so can confirm that it is a luxury that I yearn for at times.
  4. Being offered a lift. Very few things can compare to the little injection of joy that one experiences upon waking up a little later than intended, rushing to get ready for wherever it is that you need to be and being met with “Sure I’ll drop ya”. An indescribable bliss.
  5. Recognition of colloquial slang. I am an avid “beour”/ “feck it”/ “sure I will yeah” user in my everyday conversation and am often met with blank stares as if to say “What is it exactly that you’re trying to say?” or “This is exactly why we invaded ye for 800 years“***. It was pointed out to me once that as Irish people, we use the word “there” as a form of time, manner and place e.g. “Yeah I’ll do it there” or “Here, pass that to me there“, and let me tell you something, Brits don’t have a notion of what we mean by this.
  6. 4. In. 1s. That is all.
  7. Being able to say that you’re going to town for no more than an hour or two and it actually being true. In this metropolis of a gaff, it would nearly take you an hour to complete your journey into central London and it essentially becomes a 47 hour ordeal. Whereas at home, you might even factor in a spin down to Mahon Point within this time frame on the off chance that Topshop didn’t have the dress you saw online so now you want a quick sconce in Zara.****
  8. Being able to say you need to go to “Penney’s” without having to correct yourself because you should have said “Primark“. Brits.
  9. O’Connaill’s hot chocolate. This is not the first time that I have mentioned this in a post because it is JUST THAT GOOD. I have yet to find a hot chocolate in London that is even semi on par with it, and believe me I have tried. I feel that I mention O’Connaill’s so much on social media and in general everyday conversation that I should nearly be finishing my sentences with #SP (I would love if this could become a reality, please sponsor me O’Connaill’s. I live for your milk and white praline hot chocolate x)
  10. The country coming to a standstill because of the weather. Forever grateful for the days off that I was granted from college/work because of a little bit of snow. I truly believe that Elsa could be belting “Let It Go” in the middle of Trafalgar Square and I would still have to go about my day as normal.
  11. The Brog. Love it or hate it (my Spice Girls hate it and have banned it from any nights out we venture on as a group but it will continue to hold my heart), the Brog is a hallowed place in Cork City nightlife. Planning on just having a casual pint after work in the Old Oak? You will end up in the Brog. Attending the AGM of a UCC Society? You will end up in the Brog. Say that you’re sick of the place and you’re definitely not going to the Brog? You will end up in the Brog. If I had a euro for any time I have uttered the words “Mon so we go Brog”, I wouldn’t care about the total amount but would just be weak that I have coins for the photobooth in the Brog.
  12. Nightlife in Cork in general. Not the actual locations themselves (although I do love a good dance on the tables in the Wash) but the fact that you can have an absolute belter of a night, and not have to pay a cover charge? During the Spice Girls stop in London, we ventured to BallieBallerson in Shoreditch which individually cost us £23 (!???!!!?!) for two hours in the club. IMAGINE!! The sheer audacity of it all. I’m also pretty sure that I legit just sat in the ball pit for an hour and a half while being pelted in the face with plastic balls, just letting the tears stream down my face while my friends searched for lost belongings which had been swallowed by the playpit. All in all though I would recommend to a friend because it is a skit and a bit.
  13. The guarantee that there will always be toilet paper in the bathroom at home. As if by magic, your family home will always have an abundance of toilet roll, but move out of home? Forget about it. Honestly, is there anything worse than having to write into your house group chat with “Here lads will one of ye pick up toilet paper on yer way home from work cus I’m sure we’re almost out” and then you end it with the monkey covering its eyes emoji and/or a laughing face. This is not the adult life that I signed up for.
  14. The knowledge that once I finish work I can go home and will more than likely be greeted by a dinner, or worst case scenario, a plate left for me to heat up. The thought of having to make a dinner when I arrive home is something that I still not have become accustomed to. Now, I get over it and get on with it, but I also would like to thank Marks and Spencers’ Food Hall on Chiswick High Road for seeing me through some dark evenings with that glorious £2.50 cottage pie.***** You da real MVP.
  15. On this note, a Sunday dinner. There is NOTHING that can compare to your mom’s Sunday dinner. I mean, NOTHING. Anytime I go home for a few days I will always end it with a roast dinner before my flight back to Heathrow and I don’t think that I will ever get sick of it. Keep passing me that Kerrygold butter for my roast potatoes honey x

To be quite frank, compiling that list has further increased my homesickness, and if I did not have the knowledge that I will be hopping on an Aer Lingus flight to Cork next week then I am pretty sure that you would have found me wrapped in an Irish flag, sitting on the fountain in Piccadilly Circus and breaking into Amhrán na bhFiann à la Glenn Close belting Star Spangled Banner. Instead, I’m going to head back to my flat and whip out my stash of Barry’s Tea Bags and crack open the Butler’s white chocolate bunny my mom posted over for Easter that I have had the willpower to abstain from. Until now.

Much love and respect to ya pals,

Al x

*This was an alcohol induced christening of my group of pals upon the commencement of “The Great Pre Drinks of the Sunday Night of the Cobh Regatta 2015“. A momentous eve for my friend group.

** I am salivating.

*** Honestly sHaKiNg that this will be brought up if I ever need to seek citizenship but I speak the truth.

**** On a serious note, how many Lord Mayors have we been through and I still hail from a town where there is still only one Zara?

***** Upon finishing this post, I did, in fact, head to Marks and Spencers’ Food Hall on Chiswick High Road to purchase a £2.50 cottage pie. Non, je ne regrette rien.

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