Hi everyone! I’m back with my first update here in London. I’ve been here for just over a week now but I’ve completely settled in. I’ve moved in, learned my way around the tube and South Kensington, started classes, and met some amazing new friends. I tried coming into this trip with very little expectations as I had very little clue what I was getting into, however, I did have some ideas as to how I thought this would go. I was completely wrong. Honestly, it has been way better than anticipated. With a few minor bumps of course.
The plane ride in was ROUGH. I planned on sleeping for most if not all of the plane ride to allow myself to adjust to the new time zone quicker. Nope. Instead, I sat there leaning my neck pillow against the window for 8.5 hours. The turbulence didn’t help the situation either and my hips were cramping up as expected for being on a plane for that long. I’ve never been so happy to get off a plane in my life. Thankfully, there was a girl doing the same program as me on my plane as well, so we were able to work together to navigate ourselves to Metrogate House to get out keys for our dorms.
Since it was still early morning in London, we were lucky enough to have no lines for customs. It was a way quicker process than expected. We bought our Gatwick Express train tickets, hopped on the train, then quickly realized we were not on the Gatwick Express. A quick moment of panic settled in, but thankfully a local informed us that this would still get us to Victoria Station like we needed, it just took a bit longer than expected. Our Uber driver from Victoria Station to Metrogate House was so nice!
He gave us so many tips and tricks for our time in London. Told us what apps to use to navigate ourselves around, and told us some of the best areas to visit during our time here. After moving into my room, I quickly learned I was very fortunate. I was placed in a four-person room with two bunk beds, but only three of us are living there. We also, therefore, were given our own bathroom for just the three of us! I came into this trip thinking I’d be sharing a bathroom with the entire flat of 13 people. My roommates and I also got along very quickly relieving any nerves I had of finding friends.
You would think that coming to a country where they also speak English would make it easier to adjust and communicate with locals. Uh no. Surprisingly, many people I hear passing by on the streets don’t even speak English and those that do have so many different words and phrases of describing things that I find myself pausing to figure out what they’re actually trying to say. Here, trash is rubbish, silverware is cutlery, the bathroom is the toilet or loo, diapers are nappies, french fries are chips, chips are crisps, and to go orders are takeaway orders.
Honestly, I’ve already found myself adapting to this new dialogue. I also find it interesting that even though they drive on the left side of the road here, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for how to pass by people on the sidewalks. It’s always a madhouse dodging people left and right, which makes rush hour a nightmare.
My mom and sister took a trip to London over the past week as my sister just graduated from college and will be starting a full-time job in Boston in June. It has been amazing having them here as a piece of home while I adjusted myself to life here in London. I was able to join them on a few of their adventures including the infamous London Eye, Windsor Castle and high tea at Kensington Palace. I’m very fortunate to have experienced and witnessed some iconic places in London with my family.
This weekend I was fortunate enough to visit some of the gorgeous displays for the Chelsea Flower Show. As these would only be up for the weekend, but friends and decided to travel around the city looking for different presentations of these beautiful flowers. We also had the opportunity to visit the Chelsea Football Club during my Tuesday afternoon class. This experience was so fascinating to me especially as we were learning about the business behind the team, which is exactly what I’d like my future career to be in! Beyond this, my friends and I have been taking it upon ourselves to become familiar with the city we’d be calling home for the next three months, and guys, London has absolutely not let us down.