First Impressions

Let me start by saying that I am extremely excited that I am finally in London! Now I will (quickly) walk through my first few days here in a sort of journal format. (Meaning I am just going to type my thoughts and probably without too much editing or fancy language.)

Day 1: Friday 16 January

Ashley, me, Sibo, and Bahar at LAX!

Ashley, me, Sibo, and Bahar at LAX!

The flight wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Although I couldn’t sleep, the food was good and the 10 hours went by surprisingly fast. The weather was really nice today and not nearly as cold as I prepared myself for. Once we arrived, we took a private “coach” to the city and were greeted by our staff at the student center of our program. Of course I forgot the most important thing for my trip at the student center before leaving — my transportation card. Anyway, we were transported from the student center to our homes by taxi. Okay, I thought driving in Los Angeles was bad, but it’s nothing compared to London. I could never, ever drive here! The drivers are so aggressive, everything is backwards, and the intersections are horribly confusing. It was a nightmare being in that taxi. I’m thankful I will be taking public transportation.

My roommates, Sibo and Bahar, are so awesome. I can tell we are going to get along great and have a ton of fun. My house mom, Helen, is so sweet! She made us dinner — spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread — and it was delicious. For dessert we had treacle tart with cream and it was amazing. B O M B. I will be eating that again. We had such a nice conversation over a cuppa and dinner. The house is so cute! I have my own bedroom and share a bathroom with Sibo. I’m going to like it here. Here are pictures of my cute little bedroom.

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Day 2: Saturday 17 January

10 minutes late to orientation…oops. We learned a lot of useful tips and important information to keep in mind as well as heard about a student travel organization for those of us who want to travel Europe as well. (I mean c’mon who doesn’t?) After orientation, my roomies and I did some exploring. We went to Harrods. Harrods is huge, I think it would take me the entire day to get through it all. We didn’t stay long, though. We checked out Piccadilly Circus and watched some great street performers. On the way home, we went grocery shopping at Sainsbury’s. Carrying all of the groceries back on the bus and from the bus stop (we got off way before the stop we were supposed to get off at) was a huge struggle, but we did it! We decided to go to a pub in Muswell Hill called O’Niells to meet up with other girls on the program from the area. When they all decided that they wanted to go to the club, my roommate Sibo and I went home. Our other roommate Bahar went and the other girls assured me that they would walk her back home. Sibo and I had a midnight snack and conversation before heading to bed!

Day 3: Sunday 18 January

I was the first of the three of us to wake up. I had a nice chat with Helen about traveling and different things over breakfast before going in to wake up my roommates. However, when I went to wake up Bahar, she wasn’t there. The third day here and we already lost a roommate! I called the girl’s houses that she was with last night and she ended up staying with one of them.

We had a group sightseeing tour today and were told to meet up at school at 1:30 sharp. It’s about a 45 minute commute to the school so I figured if we left at 12:30, we should be fine — boy was I wrong. Our bus didn’t show up for 30 minutes. There was so much traffic by the time we got on the tube it was 1:15. There was another train ahead of us on the tracks so that delayed the tube for a few minutes. We got off at about 1:45 and ran the entire 6 blocks from the station to the school. (Thank goodness for that swim conditioning class I took last semester to keep me in shape.) The bus had just closed the door, but we were able to get on. We were lucky — if we were even one minute later than we were, we would have missed it.

After these last two days I’ve learned my lesson: leave even earlier than you think leaving early is.

The sightseeing tour was amazing. It was a bus (coach) tour. We went to Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge. Our tour guide pointed out everything of importance along the way. There is so much history here it’s crazy.

When I was standing on the London Bridge looking at the Tower Bridge, that was the moment it hit me that I was really in London.

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Day 4: Monday 19 January

First day of classes and my internship and of course, I’m feeling dizzy and nauseous. This happened the whole weekend before I left for London. The only thing that helped was sleeping. My dizziness hit me on the tube on the way to school, so sleep wasn’t an option. Thankfully, Sibo helped me out and suggested a home remedy her family uses — coffee with lemon. Yes, it is as disgusting as it sounds, but it worked! I didn’t throw up like I was supposed to, but I felt so much better within a half an hour.

My only class was my history class. (More specifically “The ‘Special Relationship’ ) The title of the class sounds boring, but I don’t think it’ll be as boring as I think. Plus, we have field trips!

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After class it was time to head to my internship. A 57 minute journey by bus — or so it was supposed to be. The traffic was unbelievable. It took me over 2 hours to get there, but I still arrived earlier than I was supposed to. My internship is located in one of the richest areas of London. The owner runs the PR agency out of her home, which is awesome because I would like to work from home one day.

As soon as I walked into the house my nerves vanished. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I got the run down of how things work and what I would be doing. I only stayed for an hour. I think I’m really going to like it!

It’s an hour and a half commute back to my home in Muswell Hill, although it really didn’t seem that long.

When I got home Helen took us to a huge Tesco. Tesco is awesome. It’s so interesting seeing the difference in the food products. Everyone eats a lot healthier here than Americans. Sibo and Bahar wanted to buy a chocolate cereal for breakfast and Helen almost had a heart attack! “Those are for 6 year olds!” she said.

After dinner and Bahar burnt the brownies she tried to make and filled the whole kitchen with smoke, Helen made us watch Bridget Jones’s Diary because we had never seen it before. It was hilarious, I really loved it.

I’m loving London so far! Thank you for reading this entire post — I promise my posts won’t all be as long as this one. Cheers!

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