My London, don’t break my heart

October 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm (Diary)

Russle SqaureYesterday was 30 September. It’s been a week. I have not finished anything yet. I am still running here and there trying to get papers signed and carrying heavy items in my extra large suitcase.  I haven’t started yet and I am already exhausted. For some reason when I looked at my phone and saw 30 September I remembered myself when I was a teenager wearing a peach dress to my aunt’s wedding. I never thought that few years later on the same day I will be living in London. It was a dream that I never even thought of dreaming! Who imagined that this little girl in that peach dress will be on her own in a big city for many years?  This date also reminded me of something, but I didn’t remember. For some reason I was thinking of one of my friends and texted him just to say hi. Few hours later I realized it was his birthday. Maybe this is why he crossed  my mind! I thought that moving to London would be as easy as moving to Colchester. But I was wrong, very very wrong! Things were complicated even before I start my course. Finding a place was exhausting; it took too much effort and time.  I ruined my significant other vacation by dragging him to every apartment viewing I had.  I had to settle for the last apartment I saw the night of my departure back to Doha. And now I ruined my sister’s vacation dragging her with me to finish paper work and buying necessary things. Luckily for her, my other sister came down from Cardiff to spend a weekend with her. She also saved herself by learning how to use the bus and underground and went by herself sightseeing.

Silly me, I thought I could finish buying all the necessary things for my flat in one day. So I got my extra large red suitcase and went to Primark. I bought all I can and then dragged the bag from Marble arch all the way to Tottenham court road while making few stops for more shopping. The bag was so heavy that i felt like crying. When I reached Argos, I got so disappointed when most of the items I needed were out of stock. I got whatever I found and called my sisters crying for help. We got a cab back to the flat. I still have to go on another torturing trip. But this time with no one helping me.

My university is very disorganized! Not like Essex at all. I asked for a campus map and I was told “we are not that sophisticated”. It took almost 3 hours to register, and I am not 100% registered yet.  And yesterday, was a day I will never forget. I waited for six hours and a half to do police registration. The problem is that I had to do it on that day or I will pass my seven day permit. The queue went around the building all the way to the Borough tube station. The officer told me that I can come tomorrow morning and start queuing at 6 am and I will be done by 10:30. I thought it would be more or less the same so I decided to wait. There was a starbucks nearby so I got myself some coffee. I was standing for four hours and sitting on a chair for two and half hours.  My number was 273, and when it was my turn, it took less than 5 minutes to be regestered! When I went out I congratulated myself by doing “tololish”, which is a traditional way of expressing joy in weddings or someone’s return. it is a sound that is made by moving the tongue very fast from  opposite ends of the mouth; it’s similar to what native Indians would do when they go around the fire. I was like “kolololololololiiiiiish”. I felt so sorry for myself yesterday, I also though life was hard. My back is aching from standing in long queues and carrying heavy bags.  The bank however, was the most complicated of all. They all need different papers with a gazillion proof. I had to order this from uni but you already know how organized my uni is, so it will take few weeks to get it; which means I have to wait for few weeks to get a bank account which means everything else is put on hold. Since I cannot do anything or finish any paper work without having a local bank account.


Life in London is so expensive. I had to pay six months in advance for my “bird cage” one bedroom flat. Money which I didn’t have. Especially that Supreme council of education are so smart and think that living cost in big cities like London and New York is the same as living in small villages in the country or India! I pay 1400 pounds per month excluding bills and internet and transportation. While I only get 1200 from the government. My sister who lives in Cardiff gets the same amount while she pays 800 pounds per month for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartments. I really think that the supreme council of education should add a new rule about that, they seem to be great about adding rules that complicate things, why not add one that helps student. And on top of that, my work had cut down my salary! Aren’t they supposed to encourage their employees and give them incentive instead of making it harder. We are there to study and get straight A’s and come back. Not to worry about finance and look for part time job! So don’t blame us if we didn’t get straight A’s.  Honestly, I am better than so many students who do not have any allowance and still have to pay fees. I am thankful for the scholarship and my father and sister and brother who are always helping me financially. But I am a grown up now, my father should enjoy his money, and should not worry about us anymore.  I feel bad every time he gives me money.  So technically, my father is paying the rest of the rent plus my living expenses.

On the day of my arrival, I had a fight with the cab driver. I agreed with the company to pay 45 pounds. When we arrived to the hotel he said he will charge me extra because I was late. I don’t like being fooled. I asked him on what basis, he said I had to pay for parking ticket which was 6 pounds and waiting time. I said that I have been in this country longer than he has – he was from an Asian country- and that this never happened before, the customer doesn’t pay for parking ticket. To be fair, I said I will pay only 5 pounds extra. He was suddenly rude and shouting, so I argued back. It was not about the 10 pounds, I just don’t like it when people try to fool me and take advantage. I told him “I will pay not 10, but 1000 pounds, you better speak to me properly” I then called the company and complained. They offered to pay me back and that the manager will speak to me to apologize. I said I don’t want the 10 pounds or the apology; I just want to make a complaint. I was frustrated from the moment I was on the plane. For the first time ever I was sad, I was not happy for leaving. I left all my friends and loved one back in Doha. I realized that London is nothing without them. And in the middle of my sorrow that stupid cab driver started shouting at me, so I took it out on him.

It’s been a week. I wonder what this year holds for me. I wonder who will be my friend, who will think of me as a B****? Which coffee shop will be my regular spot? I wonder if my friends will come from Doha to visit? I wonder what will I do in my lonely moments? I wonder if you will come?



  1. homme du Qatar said,

    I’d be happy to come to London inshallah.. and that’s normal to experience all of this.. and it has been said that the person who will remove a mountain starts by carrying small stones.. in your case.. a large bag..

    Take care Mimi and good to see you writing again..

  2. Moi ;-p said,

    Oh, I feel so sorry your start was so uneasy… but I’m sure it will be an even greater experience than the one you had in Essex, it’s London fgs !!! I felt about the same when I first arrived in Paris from Doha and started facing the problems, the everyday life, etc. but finally you’re gonna tame the city and you’ll enjoy every sip of tea, I’m sure !
    Good luck… And when you feel like you need a weekend off in Paris, let me know… I’ll be there again in 2 weeks… it’s not very cosy where I live but the bed-sofa is very comfortable !

  3. mimizwords said,

    Homme du Qatar … thank you my dear for your endless support and encouragment and for listening to my nagging and compalints the whole time 🙂

    Moi – Maite ..merci bqp pour l’invitation, c’est vraiment tres gentil. et tu sais quoi? j’habite en face de St pancris, la station du trains internationales. alors paris est vraiment 2 hr de ma maison! c’est genial!

  4. S. Kafoud said,

    Sweety you just reminded me of our first days in Essex, but i think its not comapred at allto london. enshallah everything will get better and you’ll enjoy London. i can feel you wallah. I remebred when we used to carry all the heavy bags :S and suitcases to the 3rd floor.
    We all wish you all the best, we well meet in london soon

  5. Aafke said,

    I studied in London too, I found it very expensive as well, and was living out of a suitcase moving here and there for half a year before I found a permanent room.
    Cheer up though, there are so many beautiful places in London, and such beautiful museums!
    I really want to go back now for a visit! 🙂
    I’m sure you will love it too 🙂

  6. Angie Nader said,

    wow….your week really sucked!
    everything gets easier…i cant wait to hear about how things turn around..and you are to busy

  7. Intlxpatr said,

    I’ve moved 30 times. When I read your last paragraph, I almost cried. Those are my exact words every time – “Who will be my friend?”

    the good news is – the right friends come. You are going to have a great time. You are in for some happy surprises. 🙂

  8. Dr. said,

    very touching.. your words speak of my soul!

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