Wow! I cannot believe that I have only been in London for one week? It feels like I’ve been living here for a month! Let me update everyone on what my first week in London has entailed.
My friend Julissa and I arrived at the airport, to be greeted by Kelly and her mom, Renee. It was so nice getting off the plane and being able to find a familiar face. We took a taxi to Lancaster Gate, which is where Kelly and her family had rented an apartment. Lancaster Gate is right next to Hype Park, which is the largest park in London and has important memorials like Speakers Corner and a monument dedicated to Princess Diana. After we showered and freshened up from the long plane ride, we all headed out to explore London! We went on the London Eye, which is currently the largest ferris wheel in the world and is funded by EDF Energy, which is a company dedicated to supporting a low carbon future. From the top, I had a 360-degree view of the entire city. Pretty cool way to start my London experience, wouldn’t you say?
The next day, we set off sort St. Giles Hotel, which is where we attended our IFSA-Butler orientation which lasted until Friday. Besides bombarding us with tons and tons of information about studying and living in London, the program took us on some great excursions. On Thursday night, we went to the Apollo Theater and saw the muscical Wicked! I had seen this musical in New York City a couple of years ago, but it was still a very impressive show. One of my all time favorites! On Friday, which was our last day of orientation, all of the students in the IFSA-Butler program who are studying at Queen Mary University of London went on a walking tour of London. We were able to see the great, notable attractions of London. However our tour guide also took us into back alleys and hidden squares throughout central London that I would have never found by myself that were so peaceful, beautiful, and quiet! They were like little oasis’s in the middle of the city!
On Saturday morning, I moved from St. Giles Hotel into my room at Queen Mary where I will be staying for the remainder of the semester! I have a single room (which is a decent size) with my own bathroom (which is the tiniest bathrom I’ve ever seen! I can have my bum on the toliet, hands in the sink, and feet in the shower at the same time!) I’m in a flat with 3 other study abroad students, and 4 British students. We share a kitchen which has two of every appliance, which is nice when it comes to be dinner time!
Speaking of cooking, Julissa, Kelly, and I went on our first grocery shopping trip to Sainsbury’s. It was a little daunting and overwhelming. I’m not used to buying groceries for the week and planning out dinners every night for myself! However, when all was said and done, I made it out alive and have surprised myself with how easy cooking dinner every night can be. I’ve realized I need to make a list of what I’m going to make every night before I go shopping to make the whole experience a little easier for myself.
My dad and coach will be happy to hear that running from campus is very easy, and quite beautiful! There is a canal that runs alongside our campus and connects two parks, Mile End Park and Victoria Park. So needless to say, I have no excuse not to run. (Darn!) Kelly, Julissa and I have had some debate over which side of the trail to run on. In America, we drive on the right and run on the left. But it seems in England, they drive on the left and runners and cyclists on the right! Either way, I’m sure we will be able to figure it out after three months of living amongst the natives! 🙂
It’s been a very, very busy (and at points stressful) week, but overall I’m still in awe that I’m here and this adventure of mine is beginning. I can’t wait to update you on what happens next.