2016-01-31

Day In Life Video - A Day Out in London


I have recently uploaded a youtube video about a day in the life in London. It is just a random day I do stuff in the UK. If you like it, I might do more in a regular basis or even do an English version one sometime. 

Hope you enjoy it!

Cultural Shock - Life in the UK and Hong Kong


I have recently moved to the UK to live for a while to experience life. I never know how much the life different is in the UK and HK until I live here. I want to write a blog post here to talk about the experience of a cultural shock that I have so far. 

A silent train: So it begins when I said goodbye to all my family and friends, carrying three luggages, two backpack in the airport with my husband. When I arrived the UK, jump into the train from the airport, suddenly, there is a sense of silent come up. I hear no voice in the train, everybody is so discipline and aware not to disturb people around them. No one talk loudly in the train. That is kind of weird for me as in Hong Kong, the busiest city in the world, everyone is rushing around, talking on the phone or talking with friends loudly in the train. There is no such thing of keeping quiet! 

A spacious area: The first things I notice when I get out of the train station is the environment. There is an endless green park in font of my eyes. Hong Kong is a very tiny place, there is so many high rise buildings as there is not enough space for people to live. A big green park is luxurious not to mention an endless one. My heart melts and feel that people here are so lucky to have spacious area to lay around on sunday, kids can play, run and jump. That is one thing Hong Konger can never get in their life. 

A relaxing lifestyle: After settling down, we rush to a shopping mall to buy some necessities. We notice the shops are closing up at 6, everybody are going home or going to the pub afterward. We have talked about this with our London friends and they told us that normally the shops will be closed up later on Thursday as this is the shopping day for them. Friday will be a pub day for drinks and Sunday the shops will be close at 5 as Sunday is suppose to rest and prepare for work on Monday.  That is pretty amazing for me as this is totally how a city/country works to affect the lifestyle of people live there. To control the lifestyle of people, it easy - by controlling the shop opening and closing hour.  In my Hong Kong mind set, there is no such things of shop closing earlier than 10 or even 11. I never afraid I don't have enough for shopping in Hong Kong, as the shop stay open till really late. Monday to Tursday for us is work day, we always work overtime and do not have time for shopping. We always go shopping or meeting friends on Friday as this is what we call Happy Friday. Saturday and Sunday are the FUN DAYS. We do all the shopping gathering on these two days and the shops wouldn't close until it very late as they won't waste any minutes to grab money! You close early, you lose the chance of earning. 

This in a way that change my lifestyle dramatically. When I live in Hong Kong, I would normally wake up really late on the weekend as I work hard and tired and weekend is the best time for me to sleep and recover. I can always do all the shopping and stuff when I wake up and I can play till midnight.

While I live in the UK, I will need to sleep early as I will need to wake up early the next day to ensure  I can go buy all the stuff I want in the morning, I can always sleep after 5pm or 6pm as there is nothing to do anyway. 

To summary what I feel so far, Hong Kong is a very busy city with everything happened all the time, while UK is a very quiet relaxing country. There  is no good or bad on the above, it is just what kind of lifestyle I prefer. 

There is only one month I am with this country, I'm sure I will continuous finding out more about the cultural differences, and I would definitely embrace and respect both location's charm.

2016-01-29

What I use to travel around London - Citymapper


The first time I travel from Hong Kong to London, the most scary thing for me would be the super massive get to everywhere tube map. I have no idea how to begin my journey by just looking at the complicated map. 

My husband later introduce me with an phone app called Citymapper. It is so easy to use and if you know your current position and your destination, it can simply get you to everywhere. I can't be more thanksful to have this app and now I can go to everywhere I want. 

1) Type your start and end location. It will then suggest you on how you can get there, cycle there or travel there. 

For the travelling suggestion, the information is very comprehensive, it will show you the most convenient or quickest bus / tube. It also show you the traveling time and cost. So you can decide if you would go for the cheaper option or quicker option. 



2) Preplan your journey. If you are planning your journey ahead for tomorrow, you can always click the "Now" button in the top right hand corner, this way you can choose the exact travelling time for tomorrow. This the tube, bus may not work overnight, so this function can take into account on the exact time's traffic situation and provide you with more accurate suggestion for you. 

3)  City Map. When it suggests you to walk to certain location or to get to the bus/tube station, you don't need to go to the google map, you can simply click and extend the map and it will guid you there. 

Remember to open your location services in your phone sitting (for i phone: Setting ->Privacy->Location Service (On) ). The app will instantly locate you and lead you to the destination like google map does. 



4) Bus Map. If you are travelling by bus, the next question for you would be " how do I know when I should get off? " Citymapper provides a function of showing all the bus stop (with the name of the bus stop as well) With your location services on, it shows you where the bus is travelling, which station it reached and you can easily locate your same and understand when you should get off. 

Of course the phone locator maybe slightly delayed, it is always good to understand from the citymapper on which bus station you should get off and listen to the bus announcement regarding the name of the next bus station.

5) Tube/Rail Map. Sometimes even the mapper has provide you will the information, you would still want to understand the whole picture and see if there is any other way to travel. The app has provide you with the Tube Map and Tube/Rail Map. This way you can have a full picture of where are you travelling to and how the app is leading you. This kind of comfort me a little. 

I'm sure there is still so many functions I need to explore regarding this app and I will share with you if I found out more. 

Please let me know if you enjoy using it or you found any other app that do simular or better function! 

2016-01-20

5 Things I learnt about House Hunting in London


It has been a dramatic change for me recently. My husband and I have decided to try the life in the UK for a short period of time. It has been two weeks for me since I first arrived here. Life isn't easy as I think it will be. 

The first challenge for  us is House Hunting. Before I come, I thought it is just like booking a room in hotel or air b&b. But no, since we are looking for a longer period of time, there is whole lots of background check, income proof and stuff before we can get an apartment. Besides, London rental market is hot, even we have targeted location and type of apartment. We might not be able to find one as it comes and goes really quickly. It took us 4 full days from 10am to 6pm to look around our target location to find agent for house viewing.  Here are the things that I have learnt during the process:-

1) Target a location. There might be particular place you might of interest, like friends is around, near to central London, easier to work, shopping etc. It doesn't have to be very exact, you can only be an area like (West London, South London) and the location can spread across few underground or overground stations. It is always good to open more options as things might surprise you unexpectedly.

2) View on the net. Once you have an idea on the location, you can go to the following website (right move or zoopla) to give an idea to yourself of what apartment or house it is offering at the moment. 

3) Check location. Go to google Map to understand the surrounding area and see if it is near any local supermarket, bus station, underground, overground.

4) Check crime rate. Understand the crime rate in the area via http://maps.met.police.uk. The last thing you want is to sign a rental agreement and found out the area with high crime rate when moved in. It is always good to check it before even viewing an apartment.

5) Look for an agent.  Each agent may only provide you with one apartment or house for viewing depending on location and price. Do expect to go for few agents before you can get an apartment that you like. There are lots and lots of different agent in London provide properties for you to viewYou may found a more well known agent like Anthony James Manser Estate Agent or Dexter better in dealing with house renting as they would give you professional advices like letting you know the deposit needs to be given to the third party by law to ensure the landlord wouldn't withhold the deposit with unreasonable reason.