(“I’m getting too old to live like this”… with Michał G)
When I first arrived at Michał’s place I was astonished. It was insanely flash and posh considering that Michał works in a restaurant, and he’s not even a head chef or anything close to a Gordon Ramsay. Of course, he did share the house with a few others, and it was a bit far from Central London, but still I was impressed. He’d recently moved there from a room in a council tower block in Oval… “I’m getting too old to live like that”, he said. I know exactly how he feels.
For Londoners, it’s perfectly normal to be over 30 and still share an apartment with two, three, four, five, maybe six others. It’s just the reality of the cost of living, and we deal with it. To ever buy your own place has become impossible in the past decade, and if you want to rent your own place and don’t earn more than £80k a year, it’s going to have to be beyond zone 6, probably well out of London altogether.
About five years ago I moved to Dallas, Texas, where I worked as a high school French teacher. To be honest, part of my desire to go was that I could live in a whole house, a detached one, with a garage, a decent car, big rooms, and a garden with a pool (well, I had a hot tub rather than a pool). And it cost me 1/3 what my little flat in outer London cost me. Insane. Yet I only stayed two years and then was desperate to leave.
Dallas isn’t London, and the several million of us Londoners who love to complain about how crowded, expensive, and unpleasant our city is know that there are other reasons why we remain. It’s that vast array of experiences on offer and the many kinds of people to meet. Like most of us living in the capital, I hate London, but I also love it.