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Saturday, June 02, 2007

i'm a city girl

I live and work in London, one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. I am from Singapore, a country so small that there's no 'countryside' or 'rural' although being 10 minutes from the heart of the city, I consider folk living in Jurong or Pasir Ris totally "ulu". There's no prize for guessing what type of girl I am. I'm a city girl through and through. When I was deciding between continents, my choices were between Sydney, New York and London. Huge cites.

I've been traveling a little in the UK. Andrew's from Ipswich so I've been a few times for family gatherings. A road trip to Devon. A weekend in Henley. Climbing a mountain in the Lake District. While I fully appreciate the calm and serenity of the country, I daresay, I could not fathom living in the country. It must be the "Singaporeaness" in us coming through when EL and I say, in every town that we go to that we could "stay here for X weeks sanely with a car and high-speed unlimited broadband." Devon got 3 weeks because with a car one could drive to many other parts of Devon. Coniston got 2 weeks, max. A weekend in Henley was too long for me.

The city girl in me is also evident in that I live in Zone 1, near St. Paul's Cathedral. I know that I probably won't be able to or want to live in Zone 1 forever. I'll probably trade in the convenience for a larger house at some point. But at the moment, I love that I'm a 10-minute walk from the office. Night buses (not that I've been on any) are great. And a Starbucks and a Costa vying for retail space around every other corner.

One of the drawbacks of living in the heart of Central London is the supermarkets. I love huge, expansive supermarkets. Supermarkets that actually stock the elusive buttermilk. So many times I've wanted to bake scones or muffins and I've got every single ingredient save buttermilk and I've had to scrap the idea. Big supermarkets are present in Zone 2 but sometimes the inconvenience of carrying groceries back in the tube is enough to detract from that desire. (And for those of you who've been in the tube in summer, you really know how unpleasant and uncomfortable it is).

I'm going home soon. Home to Singapore. What I'm looking forward to in that city are - coffee shops opened till 2 or 4 in the morning; cheap, delicious eating places opened 24 hours, shops that close at 9 or 10 at night (how can normal office workers even make it to late night shopping if the shops close at 7?); and of course, my family and friends.

What sort of person are you? More on Sunday Scribblings.


sundaycynce said...

Delightful. I also learned a lot from this entry. I have visited London numerous times but visiting is not at all like living there and trying to do a full grocery shopping without a real supermarket. Think I'd have a problem with that too.
I have never been to Singapore and found all of that fascinating.

gautami tripathy said...

I am enjoying this prompt learning about new places. Thanks!

I am city person too!

spacedlaw said...

Interesting. I'd never thought of the centre of London as being deprived from Supermarkets, but then again I never lived there (and so central too).

Shelley said...

My city friends often tag along on our weekly grocery store run when visiting, just for the thrill of the sheer decadence of all that space AND all that food. Keeps our appreciation of what we've got fresh.

Tomorrow we head off to visit our friends in NYC, where we will revel in the hustle and bustle and energy of it all.

Patois said...

I remember living in San Francisco -- a very small city by your Singapore standards -- and being absolutely thrilled when someone with a car would be visiting. Off to a real grocery store we would go! Nice post.

The Magical Rose Garden said...

Very interesting. I've never been to London or Singapore. Thanks for sharing a bit about your world!

Rob Kistner said...

The crush of all those people -- wow! It's all a matter of perspective and I appreciate yours Kay.

Thanks for sharing.

Betty C. said...

I just got back from six days in London and had a SMASHING time, as the Brits would say. I took one of my daughters and her best friend, both 13, and we actually spent quite a bit of time around the City. We had a delightful dinner there on a Saturday evening at a "Café Rouge" just near St. Paul's. And we took night buses! Absolutely beautiful!

megan said...

If you're going to live in a city, London's an enlightened choice. It's easy to fantasize a place into an ideal vision, which I'm good at doing when it comes to London. Having visited only in the autumn & never having lived there, I never thought about the tube in the summer heat...ugh.

Here's an idea or two on the buttermilk dilemma.
For each 1 cup buttermilk called for in a recipe, use 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream; or 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup; or
1 cup milk plus 1 3/4 tablespoons cream of tartar; or 1/4 cup buttermilk powder and 1 cup water.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm a city girl in many ways too, but am glad my city is Edinburgh, all the culture you could want and lots of green spaces and lots of small independent shops selling everything. Supermarkets too if that's your thing!

Kay said...

Thanks for all your comments and thank you Megan, for your tip on a buttermilk substitute. I will definitely try that very soon!


Shelby said...

Oh I'd love to visit London .. you make it sound very interesting.

Kerstin said...

Having lived in London for more than a decade I can totally relate to this - it will always be my favorite metropolitan city. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay there!

Molly said...

London! And Singapore! Gorgeous and wonderful. Enjoy your trip home.

Frances said...

I'm a big city girl too.
New York also has an amazing selection of restaurants.
You can eat round the clock!
Have a safe trip home,


Me and my Toffee Nut Latte from the patron saint of coffee herself - St.Arbucks.