Saturday, June 13, 2015

London real: The city of new beginnings

If I should summarize how London is from the viewpoint of the people I talked with I would say that it is the city of new beginnings and second chances.

At the beginning it was very interesting for me to see that in London there are people who actually live in hotels/hostels for several weeks or months while they are searching for a new flat/job or while they are studying there. At the hostel I met for example an Italian professor who has been teaching at the most prominent universities of Italy and lived now in the same hostel where I stayed for the time of his two years postgraduate program. He said that he decided to come here because this was the best program in the world for what he intended to study. He lived in the hostel because it was at a good area and it was the cheapest option in the long run. 
At the same place I met a woman from Hong Kong who moved to London because her daughter has been studying in London and she wanted to be more present in her life again. Now she is working as a nanny for children with special needs using her former work experience at home.
 There was also a woman from Russia who has been living in London for more than 15 years. She was a former sales executive for banking services. She left her job because she decided to set up her own company and was in the transition period.

I heard many funny stories and some which were quite heavy stuff.

 One of the funniest stories was about the difference in hosting guests in Russia and England. When my Russian friend`s bf went to Russia they followed the typical Russian protocol for welcoming guests which is to offer plenty of food all the time, heavy lunch, afterwards different kind of cookies, tea, coffee etc. The boyfriend seemed to enjoy it and ate a good amount of everything. Then she visited him in England and  her main memory from the visit was that she was starving all the time. She thought that it was something personal but then she saw it later that British people really eat much less at once and they keep this habit also when welcoming guests.

Photo by Monika Csapo

The strangest story I remember was about a small boy from one of the elite boy schools. When he turned six his dad who is the owner of one of the famous football clubs in England told  the players to go to the party and sing happy birthday to the boy. They not only did so but praised the boy in their song how great he is in front of his guests (who were mostly also six years old children of rich families). I found this story so funny and pervert at the same time.
I could not help but to remember the Akala-interview in London Real where they cited one of his most famous verses "But in reality you have more common with immigrants than with your leaders." Which refers to the fact that the UK is not an egalitarian society at all..To state this is not a question of value, it just a simple fact.

I met these people in this social context but their stories told me much more than just showing a mirror to the society they entered. It was more an insight to interesting life paths and human qualities.

It was really refreshing to meet these people. They were all in their forties or late forties and full of life. Fighting but still keeping on, having a purpose. It was a touch of reality. An insight to struggles, consequences and the ups and downs in life. Finally it was not the same filter what everyone applies. Not everything was "the best" and  not everyone was "having a blast". It was a more honest and interesting version of the everyday.

No comments:

Post a Comment