Incase you didn’t know, because as if I don’t talk about it enough, this summer I moved to London for a month to take part in a Study Abroad program. It was easily one of the best decisions I’ve made. While there, I adopted some new habits that I’ve been able to keep with me since I came home that I thought I’d share with you.
Being a Local Tourist
One of my biggest goals while in London was to live more like a Local and less like a Tourist. I would say I did a pretty good job of finding the balance between the two. What it made me realize when I came back to the states, was that I really didn’t know as much as I should about the city I now call home, Los Angeles. I’ve been living here for a few years now, and whenever friends come to visit they always ask for recommendations of what to do, and naturally I draw a blank and search on pinterest for suggestions to offer. While most of my suggestions are still food related (no shame, I love food) I’ve gotten better about sharing things I actually enjoy about LA and bringing my friends along with me. Right now my top picks are hiking up to Griffith Observatory, watching Harold Improv Night at the Upright Citizens Brigade, walking down Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach to get some ice cream from Salt & Straw. I’m hoping to be better at this one this year, especially in getting to know other regions of Los Angeles beside the Valley, but so far I think I’m off to a good start.
To clarify, I’m not trying to brag and say I drink tea every day now at precisely 4 o’clock or that I no longer drink coffee because I have a refined palate. I have however gotten better about taking the time to check in with myself in the afternoon to see if I need a little pick me up. It’s also slowly turning into a bit a of a traditions with myself and one of my best friends when I’m back home visiting. We’ve started to catch up over tea and sandwiches and explore different Tea Shops in doing so. As silly as it sounds, there’s something that makes you feel classy about drinking tea in the afternoon, which in turn has helped me to stay focus at a time of day that I usually would be tuning out. I still drink it with a good helping of cream and sugar though. Working on it.
This has been something I’m constantly fighting myself on. I so badly wish this came easily to me, but the truth is, I have to put in a good amount of effort in order to see this goal through and stay on task. The good news is, I seem to have finally found a method that works for me: the bullet journal. I started this a few months prior to setting out for London, but really got in the swing of things while there. The thing I love about the bullet journal is how personal you’re able to make it. For me it a great balance between an planner and a diary. I write down any tasks I have to complete for the day/week but I’m also able to artistically showcase any fun events I had that day. I used it to write out the different things I wanted to do while in London, and it was definitely interesting to look at it at the end of my trip and see how little things I had checked off, not because I’d been lazy, but because I kept so busy! It’s been especially nice since being home because it feels like less of a task that I dread and more of an activity I look forward to. It also fun for me to be able to look back on all of the fun things I did, which as lame as it sounds, is a reward in itself.
Dressing for the City
This one probably sounds the most silly of my habits but hear me out. Remember when there was all that hubub about how every time Taylor Swift left the gym she looked picture perfect and as though she hadn’t broken a sweat? Okay you might not, but I do. She explained herself by saying something along the lines of how beautiful and romantic she felt New York as a city was and how she wanted to dress respectful of it. After hearing this part of me was like “okay but yoga pants are comfy” and the other part was like “but I get you”. I didn’t really feel that way about Los Angeles yet. Something I’ve come to realize when explaining my time abroad and how desperately I want to return is how London was the first city I’ve ever fallen in love with. I definitely have a huge amount of appreciation for my hometown, and I definitely took for granted my time in Santa Barbara while I was studying there, and I’m grateful for how much opportunity Los Angeles provides, my time living in these cities was enjoyable not so much because of the location, but more for the people I’ve met there who I associate with the city. The feeling I have for London however, is hard to explain. I’d compare it to that that my friends who have left California to move to New York in NYC. There’s just something about the city you can’t quite explain. I loved walking to class each day and couldn’t help but pay attention to how everyone dressed. There was a lot of people in their business looks, but also a fair amount of people who’s casual look had them looking like a fashionista. It inspired me to dress more confidently. Less muted tones, more colors. But it also had me dipping my toe in more formal wear for my everyday looks. I think for me, my style reflects my personality. I dress a little younger for my age, because that’s how I view myself. But now I’m stepping into a new territory of dressing a little more classy I guess you could say? That doesn’t feel like the right word to use, but I’m hoping I’m making sense. Either way since being back, I’ve been dressing a little bolder and caring a little less if other people think I’m “pulling it off” and paying more attention to how I feel when wearing it.
A constant joke made at millennials expense is how we don’t know how to get off our phones. And as much I try to debate my parents on it, there is a good amount of truth to what they’re saying (but also to be fair my parents are guilty of it as well). When it comes down to it, we have much more distractions then our parents did when they were our age. When it comes to keeping yourself entertained, you no longer need to just go outside and play a game of tag with your friends like you did when you were little. With screens and the internet it’s made it easier for us to stay in touch with those were close to, but it’s also created a false sense of reality. By taking videos to upload to our social media at concerts and events, we’re not really living in the moment, we’re instead watching that moment through our screen. This has been the norm for me for so long that I didn’t even realize how relaxing it was to not be on my phone at a concert until I went to British Summer Time at Hyde Park and watched Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform. Because his music is a little bit older of a demographic than I’m used to attending shows with, there was a different energy at the show. People were dancing, making new friends, and yes, we’re also guilty of pulling out their phone to record the moment Stevie Nicks joined Tom Petty on stage, but the overall feel of the show was to live in the moment and enjoy it. One of the first shows I saw when I returned to America was none other than one of my favorites, Niall Horan. He was playing his album “Flicker” in a small venue setting prior to the album’s release. While I had heard his pre-release singles, I had yet to hear the album as a whole and instead made it a point to not watch any YouTube videos from the shows before the one I was attending. It was such a rare opportunity, so I wanted to hear the album for the first time live as to really take it all in. It was one of the best choice I could’ve made. I wasn’t worried about posting videos instantly to my social media to let my friends know I was there. Instead I was focusing on the stage, the sound, and how well the band worked together. I’ve managed to stick with this pretty well, I will admit I’m guilty of the occasional picture to share with my friends at a later date, but for the most part I’m being present and not living through a screen.