By Sunniva Nerbovik
My first thought was how grey Hendon actually was. I guess I had not really paid attention to my surrounding the previous year; when walking straight to campus and later, back again, with my eyes only focusing on the big glass door I passed through on my way to some class, workshop or lecture.
In July, when I had got a week of work and travelled down to move all my stuff into our new flat, I looked around my new neighbourhood with the curiosity of a toddler. Tried to find a new pizza place, where to make my weekend grocery shop as cheap as humanly possible and also locating the nearest ‘wine store’ to fulfil my cravings for Coca Cola and Doritos, which I knew would come at the oddest hours. Fortunately, this new flat contained a washing machine with an integrated dryer, so the need of a new laundrette had thankfully vanished.
As I started walking down the street, men in suits and massive hats walked pass, looking like they were going somewhere fancy. Of course, later I did learn that they were in fact not, but as a foreigner one cannot help but wonder. Soon, I also located two bakeries, one had excellent bagels with salmon and cream cheese and the other cheap sushi and a yet undefined lump of pastry that simply tasted delicious. I ticked them off my neighbourhood-necessities-bucket list. Also found a good breakfast place for those days when one simply cannot be bothered.
In autumn, with leaves flying everywhere, Hendon changed. It got colour and I found streets with big, well-tended houses and gardens with flowers in full bloom, even though it was late October. When spring arrived, with its pink cherry trees guiding me, it almost looked idyllic; though I needed an Instagram-filter to make it happen. Still, it became my favourite time of year.
In April, one of my flatmates and me was invited to a birthday BBQ in nearby Sunny Hill Park, which by the name sounded very picturesque. My only experience with parks is the small lawn located outside my local cinema back home, so I was absolutely overwhelmed when Hendon opened up into a huge green park. It was just as in a Hollywood film, with dogs playing and running around, an old couple taking their afternoon stroll and people – our friends – barbecuing, with the appropriate background music playing in my head, obviously.
I must say I am relieved Hendon showed me that it actually has colour, other than its first impression with the grey façades. That it can look good through a filter is important, as I want to keep up another façade; that living in London is extremely exciting and very glamorous.