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BESPOKE CITY

Managing great expectations

August 26th 2011

Sarah Coffey via http://beanandgone.org

Managing expectations is one of the most important skills you learn in life.

Luckily enough, I have been mastering this skill since I was a little girl. 

I was never one of those neat and tidy kids…more of the ‘free-range’ type, and people never expected me (or any of the sisters for that matter) to turn up to parties in a white dress with a ribbon in my hair.

                                                             Free range family

But on the odd occasion when I did (or was forced to) put a dress on the reaction I got from the general public was always one of being pleasantly surprised.

So you can see how I learnt pretty early on that I could control people’s perceptions simply by managing their expectations.

The same applies to living in London.

London is a fabulous, cosmopolitan, vibrant city that can entertain you at any hour of the day, not to mention provide you with easy access to some of the most amazing destinations in the world.

But it does come at a cost.

And I feel that it is my responsibility, as someone who is fairly well versed in the world of expectation management, to let you know exactly what that cost is.

The House

To put this in perspective lets do some quick sums (who am I kidding…this took me ages).

The population of London is just under 8 million living across 1,572km2. So that roughtly equals 5,000 people per km2 (compared to Brisbane which is 918 people per km2).

That’s a hell of a lot of people if you think about it. And where do all of those people live?

They live in places like this.

                                                      Le Château London

Four bedroom apartments shared amongst five people with one bathroom, one working stove top, two bar fridges and a washing machine in the kitchen.

The showers are electric, which means no taps just a box thing with six temperature settings. The toilet only flushes once (which is risky) and doesn’t have a lock on the door (which is seriously risky). And the couch doubles as a spare bedroom, office and living room.

We do have a garden…or maybe it used to be a garden. Now it is some kind of urban jungle or barbeque graveyard.

                Urban jungle complete with our very own wild horse... Rexy.

The job

Depending on which part of the world you hail from you job expectations will vary. However, if you are from Australia be prepared to work twice as hard for half as much.

Currently the UK has 2.4 million people unemployed so you can imagine the job market is pretty ruthless. If you’re not willing to do the work, then there is a PhD graduate from Oxford willing to do it for you (I’m not kidding…I know of PhD students taking graduate jobs for £25k a year).

That said, career wise you won't get any better than London. The opportunities you have access to will be unrivalled anywhere in the world if you are willing to put in the hard yards. Plus if you can tough it out in London, you can tough it out anywhere.

The food

The food in London is great but it is also expensive. So you can wave goodbye to steak every night.

When you are earning less, paying higher rent, not to mention the cost of travelling…it falls pretty far down the priority list.

So you learn to make do with the cheap stuff like mince and muffins.

                                         My freezer drawer...don't judge me.

Turns out no matter what shape you put it in, be it a ball (meat ball), flat ball (hamburger), flatish ball (rissole) or in no ball at all (bolognaise) mince still tastes the same.

I have also discovered the marvelous diversity of muffins, which unlike cupcakes you can eat at any time of the day. They can also tick the ‘one serve of fruit a day’ box if you put some raspberries in (these ones are the best)

The car

What car?

The result

How can I put this in perspective…living in London is worth eating mincemeat seven nights a week.

The things you learn about yourself and the world is like growing up on steroids but without actually having to age. And anyone thinking about making the move should stop thinking about it and just do it. Book a ticket, get a visa and move.

At the end of the day, there is a reason 100,000+ Australian’s are over here.

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