When I was working out my list of things I wanted to do while abroad, never did I think that one of those things would be seeing Napoleon Dynamite. Yet, there I was, on the overground tube on my way to a free screening of the American classic that I had found out about on Facebook.
As strange as it may sound, Facebook has been somewhat of my saving grace for finding things to do in London. Stumbling upon free, or decently priced, events at obscure venues has been fulfilling my desire to explore without making me feel too much like a tourist. Though using Facebook is viewed as a bit old-school by our generation, it is a classic and communal way of being aware of what’s happening.
Before coming to London, I already had a few concerts lined up. When I noticed that one of the venues puts on more than just concerts I began to tumble down a Facebook events rabbit hole. Looking at one event led to another, leading to Facebook’s blessed “Related Events” sidebar guiding me to find out about a slew of things happening around the city. One of those things being free movie screenings at Peckham Levels: an abandoned car park turned into a conglomerate of things you’d expect to find at a community center, along with things you’d never think to put in the same building. Another one was scrolling through the events calendar for MOTH Club, an intimate venue in Hackney that hosts everything from art fairs to themed dance nights. I found out that one of my favorite comedians would be doing a show there.
Now don’t get me wrong, doing the big things like visiting museums and landmarks is fun, but there is something about finding the small things within the city that has made me feel a bit more at home. It’s comforting to realize that despite how different your surroundings are from your hometown, they’re likely to hold similarities in details. Those details being standing room only music venues, independent movie theaters and other gathering spaces that are a part of a larger story of what a city is to the people that inhabit it.
Lydia Velazquez is a student at Utah State University. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is currently studying with ISA in London, England.
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