The Good, the Bad, and the Robbery

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

The Good

My third week studying in London is already coming to a close, and I feel like time is flying by. By now, I do feel like I’m settling in nicely to the city lifestyle – I feel confident navigating the tubes, I’m on pace with my academic courses, and I find myself picnicking in Hyde Park almost daily. One thing I have already grown to love here is running in the city. Back at home I would go on runs in my neighborhood or a nearby park, but nothing compares to the views I can find here in London.

I am constantly hitting new milestone distances because of all the amazing things there are to see here. I can be out for hours at a time simply jogging from one area of town to the next, stopping at times to take pictures or just enjoy the view. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much easier it is to stay motivated on runs here and I’m happy that I get to see so many parts of my new city while also getting in some much needed exercise.

Another thing I have discovered a love for is laying in Hyde Park. I routinely pack a picnic bag and lounge in the shade of giant trees; I enjoy doing homework outside, leisurely reading, or even just people watching. Attached below are just a few of the views I get to see a daily basis (and one of my personal best running distances)!

However, this leads me to the next part of my post – the bad part about being in Hyde Park alone.

The robbery

For every action there is an equal, and opposite reaction. So far, everything has been almost too good to be true. Given the amazing time I’ve been having in London it seems somewhat fitting that I would experience something negative here as well. At least, that’s the mindset I’m trying to approach this situation with.

I’ll start with the story – on Thursday I was laying in Hyde Park in the late afternoon on a picnic blanket, doing homework on my laptop, with wireless headphones connected to my cell phone that was laying on the ground beside me. Unprompted, a foreign man with a heavy accent came up to where I was sitting and kneeled down and signaled for me to remove my headphones. On edge and alone, I was wary of his intentions. He was asking for spare change and had a sign indicating a story about his family and how anything could help. I responded that I didn’t have any money on me and I was sorry but I couldn’t help. After a couple more exchanges he finally stood and walked away.

It was about 10 seconds later when my headphones started cutting in and out that I noticed my phone was no longer sitting beside me. He must of swiftly grabbed it when he rose to leave. I immediately stood, heart sinking, to watch the man sprint out of the park and into the busy street. With my laptop and all other picnic supplies still laid out, I couldn’t do much but yell for him to stop – but, alas it was to no avail. Flustered and now without any means of contacting anyone, I made my way to the nearest park cafe to request that one of the staff members call the park police to meet me here so I could file a claim.

Aside from being emotionally shaken up, I am appreciative that the situation had no physical affects on me.  I was able to file a police report so that I could submit it with my insurance claim, get a temporary replacement phone set up, and go home with a story that would hopefully protect myself and my roommates in future situations.

The experience was definitely one I would never have expected to happen to me. You hear about stories like this happening to other people but never fully understand them until you’re in the same situation. I am grateful that it was only a phone that was lost, something material and replaceable. It certainly makes me that much more aware of my possessions when I’m out in crowds or on my own. After the passport fiasco and now this, (knock on wood) I find it highly unlikely I’ll be misplacing anything else for some time to come given the amount of triple, quadruple checking I now do every few steps. Another lesson to be learned and now my future actions will be shaped because of it.

Let’s hope I catch a break soon.

Staying positive from across the pond,