Settling into London

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Today, January 11th marks one week since the beginning of my London program with the Foundation of International Education (FIE). Arriving and adjusting to the time change wasn’t as challenging as I had anticipated. As a part of the FIE orientation, my school, LMU, mingled with other schools, attended informational meetings, toured parliament, attended a West End show, and went on a rather rainy cruise on the river Thames. After the rainy cruise, the sun peeked out to show off a beautiful, pink sunset right behind the London Eye. Something that I have quickly learned about London is how rich in culture it really is. I have stopped by a few different museums so far.

In the first week, I went to the Natural History Museum, The British Museum, and my personal favorite so far The Victoria and Albert. The next museum on my list is the Tate modern. The reason I have been able to get to and from all of these different places is because of another thing I have developed a love for, the tube. I lived in Los Angeles my whole life and the city is notorious for having the worst public transportation system. Now living in London, public transportation is my only option. But it has proved to be is so efficient and convenient. My outlook on public transportation has definitely shifted. The look of the city is something that I have embraced with open arms. There is something unique and also breathtaking about the style of the upper levels of the buildings here. When I just look at the tops, I feel like I am in Victorian, old-timey England, but when my eyes reach the bottom of the building, I realize KFC inhabits the lower level. It is such a stark contrast, but that is what I love about it.

My personal mission for studying abroad here, besides traveling to other parts of Europe, is to attend and see as much live music as possible. I made the first stride towards this goal at Piano Works in Farrington. I didn’t know what to expect, but the place had been on every article I looked at prior to choosing my destination. It was a bit of a trek to get to as I originally got on the wrong train. Once rerouting, getting stuck in the rain, and finally getting on the right path, I finally arrived. It wasn’t too packed as it was a Tuesday night, but the live band echoed all the way up to the street. There were two pianists and vocalists, a guitarist, a bassist, and someone on the drums. The whole night the band just played the crowds requests which led to an interesting setlist. Overall, I could see myself going back to Piano Works.