An Italian Girl in London

Every age has a different perspective of life. I am a teenager, the most difficult age ever.

My name is Alicia and I am Italian, from Bologna. I spent three weeks in London and I loved it!

It is absolutely an amazing city, full of people coming from everywhere, parks, events and incredible buildings. I’ve never been in London before and I’m thankful to London Mums Editor Monica Costa and my parents for this huge opportunity. I found myself in an other world really. My host family has been incredibly kind, my host mummy in particular, but the English way of living is absolutely different from mine.

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The first main difference is at mealtimes. I am used to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with my family and to stick to those times. I have never had a meal alone at home. We love eating together, sitting all in the same place and chatting about our day. What I experienced in these three weeks in London has been a little bit different. Probably the only thing that my host family did together at the beginning was to drink a cup of tea, just because the first minutes before tea is ready, it is too hot to move away from the kitchen. This is why initially I found it a bit awkward, then I tried to feel more relaxed about it and I can proudly say that my host family stayed together at dinner. That has been the best thing ever and they also enjoy it.

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On the last day my host mum told me that from now one she would like to try to eat and stay together more often. She liked the real family atmosphere. I saw in her eyes a little feeling of satisfaction. She is a very good woman, and mum as well. She gave me all the love that I needed during my adventure.

Another big difference is the constant use of headphones among teenagers. It is absolutely the rudest thing when seeking new friends. They also use them not just when they are alone but when they have company. Once I asked a teenager what her thoughts were and she told me that this is an English custom ‘we like to stay together listening to our music’. I accept this, but every time I wanted to talk to some teenagers I met it all became agony.

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I also struggled with the ‘no-eighteen years old in night clubs’ in England. Teenagers have no places where they can hang out in the evening. Neither pubs nor night clubs want them. You need to be eighteen! In Italy there are night clubs where you’re allowed from the age of sixteen. That’s why in London I spent most nights at home, watching movies and reading. I just wanted to meet new young people but there was no way I could do it.

But I had plenty of opportunities to get to know the English lifestyle and the London buzz. I went to incredible events such as the amazing concerts at the BST at Hyde Park, as well as the 3rd Annual Child Internet Safety where I learnt new things and improved my English vocabulary.

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London is a ‘land’ of opportunity in itself. I understand now people who want to move to this Capital, which offers everything you need to grow, to overcome your limits. I particularly understood why London is the ‘goal’ for a lot of teenagers. This capital is magic, I have fallen in love with the Big Ben at night, the Southbank, the huge British Library, all the free museums, Oxford street, Hyde Park, and also with my little neighborhood in East Sheen and Richmond.

London is London, there are no doubts on it.

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