Although it has already been 4 months in London, it doesn´t matter where I go or who I meet, the reaction is always like „OOhhhh myyy goooodddd, London, how is it going, it´s so super exciting.. whhhoaamamm, baaaahhhmm, .. “ and I really don´t know what to say. The initial months are now over, and it has been quite overwhelming, especially in the beginning. To be honest, I wasn’t´t that super excited, because I know what it means to move to another city and to start from scratch as a Concierge. This is really one of my biggest personal challenges ever, but I love to challenge myself and I love to stay active and learn from others. A lot of people asked me „Why are you leaving Berlin?“ „You work in a great hotel, you are very well connected in the city“ and bla bla bla.. but in German we have saying for that „You should go when it´s the most beautiful“ (the English equivalent would be „Leaving on a high note“) . That´s my little goal, London is my fourth city (after Dresden, Düsseldorf and Berlin) and it´s the most crazy one, too. The biggest challenge is actually the work pace; it´s completely different, my rota is 3 days 12 hour shifts and 3 days off. That´s it. I mean I´m used to working long and hard, but it´s a huge challenge for my body, because it´s very tough to work 36 hours in just 3 days. The tempo is insane in London and I have never worked like this before. So, my days start in general at 7am or 10am. When I do 7am to 7pm, I have to get up at 5am in the morning and I´m back home at 8:00-8:30pm. That´s it.
The traffic is unbelievable in London as well. It´s packed and crowded.. It takes a long time to get home, between 60 to 90minutes, depending on the traffic. Just imagine, my home is just 9km away from my working place.. and it takes 90 minutes.. In the beginning, I thought about buying a bike, but most of the time it´s cold, grey and rainy.. and the traffic is on the left side.. It would just kill me in the first 5 minutes.. So, NO! This is not an option at the moment. I will wait for spring and then I will start jogging and see how this is going to work for me.
On my days off, when I´m not traveling, I´m walking around, drawing my own maps to get used to the street names, tube lines & stations, sights, theaters, restaurants and so on.. I have done a lot in the last few months .. As I said, it´s easy for me to organize myself in new cities, because I know the guest questions and what they would like to know, so I´m trying to learn all this as quickly as I can. I guess I put too much pressure on me sometimes. I have moments where I´m getting frustrated because I don’t´t know things or can´t easily answer questions, it´s a huge learning curve for me. Do I think it was the best thing to do? Sometimes I doubt that, but I know it was the right decision at the right time. I´m happy to be here, I´m happy that Hyatt has given me the possibility to do that and the rest will get better every day.
There is two more observations I want to share with you.. London is so international, you can´t compare this with Berlin. We have people from everywhere and I really like that. In my hotel, there are employees from over 50 different countries .. and for most roles your language skills are far more important than your education level. The rest is knowledge and this is a part I really love. I work with so many incredible people from so many different countries. This multi national environment allows you to make connections and built friendships relatively easy. London is the best example for „lonely together“. It has also its sad part, because a lot of people come here, because it is not easy for them to find employment in their own countries. They don´t see a future at home. My first week in the orientation was kind of sad, because I realized how many people came to Great Britain to find a job to „feed“ their families in their home countries and how much they have left behind.
The other part I really like is the politeness of the British people. If you want to stop a bus, you have to wave your hand. All British people stay in a queue.. British people really love queuing .. it´s so funny to see. You greet the bus driver when you get on and when you leave the bus you say thank you to the driver. Especially the school kids. I really like that. It doesn’t´t matter where you are going, the people always start a conversation with you „Hi, good to see you, how are you doing.. “ and you have to reply in the same kind of way. Even when you go in a shop or a super market or to a pub, everyone is doing that. I really like that. I like that the kids wear uniforms, this allows them to all look one and the same regardless of their background. I like that you can pay everywhere with credit card, even when you go to visit a cemetery, you can pay the entrance fee of £ 3.00 with a credit card. How awesome is that..
I encourage anybody who is thinking about making a big move like this to go and follow their dreams. Other then the great experience you get and the knowledge you acquire, it teaches a lot about yourself and what you are made of.
PS: Thanks to my Les Clefs d`Or Society for making my concierge life easier.