I first visited London on a summer vacation just after sitting for my IGCSEs in 2013. I really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of London, a city filled with a variety of things to see and do. Fast forward to 2015, I was about to start university life in this exciting city.
Before coming to London, I spent most of my life in Penang. Penang is small, but a well-developed city, known to many Asians as the “food paradise” of Malaysia. You can find amazing street food with very reasonable prices around every corner of Penang. Food is everywhere in London too. But being an international student, restaurants and cafes in London are not very budget-friendly compared to my hometown. But it’s alright to treat yourself and explore the variety of food in London once in a while.
My memories of being in London contradicted the stereotypical comments of how London is mostly gloomy and rainy. At least I could experience 4 different seasons. In Penang, there’s only one season all year round (about 26-30 Degrees Celsius). At least London has a bit more variation in the weather, which meant my closet had more variety of clothes. It may seem like a small thing, but I found it quite exciting as I had the chance to wear trench coats, stylish scarfs, and fancy boots during autumn and winter.
One thing I really love about London is there’s just so much to do here – watching musicals, concerts, admiring the picturesque buildings while taking a stroll along the streets. You’ll never get bored. Penang is small and most people travel by car. It probably takes about an hour to drive from one end to the other end of the island. In London, had to learn how to travel on my own using the public transport, which was initially challenging. But after a week, I loved how convenient it was to get around on my own (with the help of Google Maps & City Mapper). Living in a busy city definitely helped with my homesickness as I could keep myself busy and help take my mind off missing home.
Indeed, Penang and London are very different cities. Penang will always be home to me. But after living in London for the past 3 years, it has grown to be my second home.