Does London fall apart ?
Salut les frenchies,
Fière diplômée d’un bac ES, j’ai intégré la rentrée dernière, le cursus londonien de l’université Dauphine-Paris (le GBD). L’acclimatation pour moi, Fanny Gavelle, ou Fann pour les anglais (la signification de mon prénom laisse à désirer dans la langue de Shakespeare), est une étape houleuse et loin d’être terminée.
Fraîchement arrivée dans la capitale des buveurs de thé (et de pintes), mon quotidien se résume à prendre des bus rouges et à me protéger de la pluie, mais pas seulement…
… This is my story
The day I moved to London was like a fairy tale : two adorable roommates, a spacious, comfy and very pretty house, and plenty of exciting perspectives for the two years to come ! In short, everything was perfect. Nevertheless, I soon learnt the hard way that fairy tales are not meant to last forever. Indeed, when I actually started to live in this “perfect” house, I realized that all this was just a facade. Our house was literally falling apart. It started with a commonplace incident: when I went to the bathroom, the lock came off in my hand. First, I thought “well! Everything couldn’t be perfect!” but then it was the backyard door that couldn’t close (a quite worrying thing when you had just learnt that a 16-year-old was killed in front of your house the day before). A few days later, the knob of the oven broke…
I started to use the term “Ikea House” when referring to the place I was living: Everything was pretty but there were always something wrong, something missing or a defective part, just like furniture from Ikea. However, over time I realized that it wasn’t just my house that corresponded to this description but a lot of other features of London. This led me to the question : Does London fall apart ? Take the Underground, for example, it smells good (or at least not bad), some stations are very stylish but if you focus on productivity and efficiency, then the tube is catastrophic. One day, I was coming home after class and I saw the driver getting out of his cab to fix some piping in my car. He then went back to his cab, leaving the trapdoor open, like as if nothing happened. Nobody was shocked but me ! People had warned me about some unreliable tube lines in London (The District line) but actually, this is not what I call “unreliable”: this is more a Potemkin village that hides the real truth : The London underground is falling apart, just like my house. I guess Londoners are just used to these kind of problems and maybe that’s why TFL feels the need to claim on its ads that they are not making a profit and reinvesting all of their income in the infrastructure. I truly wonder where this money goes. I guess that when you know the transportation cost in London, this money has to go somewhere : I just can’t figure out where. The education system is also chaotic; not in its essence but in its form. For instance, when I go to UCL for my Spanish class, we spend 20 minutes each time figuring out who is supposed to be here or not, where the missing people are and what we could do with people that are not supposed to be here. It’s pretty ironic that the financial center of the world loses so much time because they are unprepared and inefficient. I mean time is money, right ?
I’m not sure that my house, a Spanish course, or my misfortune in the underground can really answer this question objectively. I would probably have a better answer at the end of the year, depending on the improvement or deterioration of my living conditions. In the end, London might just be screaming at me “Leave! Go back home!”. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe London tries to make your life harder, just so you’re able to say: “I deserve to live here”. You can’t take ownership of London; you need to earn it !
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