Thursday, January 15, 2009
I made it to London. This city is amazing.
My flight was good, despite the two annoying little boys and the turbulence. I didn't really sleep on the plane, but I did eat a gross pasta dinner. We actually arrived 30 minutes early which was nice. I was the only person from the Boston flight staying in Richmond so I had a taxi all to myself. I felt important. The man carried my luggage for me and said little tidbits of information about things we were passing and roads we were on. Fog greeted me upon arrival, though, making it difficult to photograph my drive from the airport to the campus. That first drive was nuts, by the way! The whole other side of the road thing is hard to get used to. And London drivers drive fast!
I got into Richmond at about 8 in the morning - it was 30 minutes from Heathrow - checked in, and was taken over to my flat. Mail can be sent to me at:
Queens Road, Richmond
Surrey, TW10 6JP
My roommates are awesome. There are 5 of us living in this flat, all from the States. Boston, Pittsburgh, Austin, NYC and Detroit. We get along so well and we already have a bunch of code names for the boys we have met. Everything here in Surrey is quaint and cozy. Picturesque, really. There are rose bushes everywhere, I can not wait for them to bloom. Soccer fields everywhere, too. The center of Surrey is Richmond, which is where we live. The center of town is about a 10 minute walk for us. There is a village there with pubs, restaurants, cute little shops and cafes, a grocery store and a pharmacy. Richmond is where we get on the Tube to go into central London, and that is about 20 minutes away.
Richmond is an extremely affluent community and the kids who grew up here and attend the university are very well off. We are letting them show us around, and they are being very gentlemen-like and chivalrous. So far, we haven't had to pay for a taxi ride, meal or drink.
Last night we went to a few pubs in town to see what they were like. It was really fun! We drank cider and danced to British music, which all kind of sounds like the Killers. Then we took a taxi into central London where the boys had reserved a room at a club that cost 900 pounds! The owners came in to check on us, "Anything else we can do for you, Mr. SoandSo. And how about you, miss. Everything alright?" We were VIPs. The club was so tasteful and chic. There were a lot of people there and everyone looked so stylish. When I heard "Live Your Life" I thought about back home. <3
Besides the study abroad interns, there are maybe 30 students living here already - because they never went home or because this is their home. University doesn't start back up for regular students until next week sometime so more people will move in then. Everyone so far is chill... and extremely interesting. I have already met people from all over the world. This school is has 1000 students from over 100 different countries, which is an incredible statistic.
Every time I breath this English air I get reminded of how amazing this experience is. It still hasn't really hit me that I am going to be living in England for the next 5 months.
We went on a tour of London yesterday before dinner. It was stunning. The history and awesomeness (not the cool awesome, but the grandiose awesome) of the buildings and landscape is incredible. I am applying a lot of what I learned in art history to the things I am seeing. Speaking of art.. there are 5 museums I want to go to in the city, all of which are free. And, there are art galleries around every corner. Also, the fruit and flower vendors melt my heart. And the tea here taste so much better than it does in the States.
The food and weather haven't proved themselves to be quite so good, not that I was expecting them to be... Its about 40 degrees here, damp and foggy.
My roommates have all gone down for a nap, and I am about to fall into the temptation. Still not sure if I'm cured of jet lag because that whole thing really confuses me, but for now, some shut eye seems prettttty appealing.
Update more soon!
ps. I bought a cell phone which gets free incoming calls: 011 44 75 5193 3869.