well well well, I have finally arrived in London and been here a bit over a week. SO much has happened in these past ten days that I am excited to share with you all! I decided to start from the beginning, as it is a very good place to start. I arrived in London last wednesday after a very long day of travel from which I became sick with a cold that just recently concluded. That day they brought us to our house where we each have a bedroom as part of our flat, we share bathrooms, a large kitchen and lounge area. I am the only one that gets wifi from my bedroom, so I think its a lovely place however many of the other girls would strongly disagree. Below is a picture of my room once I put it all together. I am very glad I brought posters, pictures, and my own belongings from California because it has helped create an atmosphere that I feel is actually my home. I have closet, sink, window, fridge, and desk within my room!I’m also in the room on the opposite end of the hall as everyone else, which is why I receive wifi but it also means I don’t have any noise issues which is the most delightful experience of my life.
We began our first day of orientation for university that finally concluded today! That night the school then took us to thai food…. considering I had not had a meal in 26 hours thanks to their lovely schedule I thought it was fine but under normal circumstances I would not have been fond of the dish. Afterwards a number of the girls from Thoresby headed down to the Thames for our official first night in London, Here is my official picture: please note it was drizzling in this photo and that has been the only rain I have experienced since arrival! Here I am with the London Eye, Big Ben, and the HP in the background! It was a really wonderful moment to finally be here! The first few days were filled with long lectures on britishness…. yes apparently there can be lectures on that… which provided us with interesting things to know about the brits. What I took away is that I may appear to be an aggressive human being by simply introducing myself to a stranger and was instructed to stay quiet… Yeah we’ll see how that goes, but I have little faith in my ability to do that. Oh also side note while I think about it, everyone should be very pleased that after a near death experience with a bus (don’t worry :/) that I have officially figured out how to jwalk here. Tonight I also gave directions for the tube (biggest deal ever). For the past week the girls from Thoresby and I have been exploring the city between our other appointments so I have seen the national gallery, the national portrait gallery, the british museum, the museum of london, trafalgar square, buckingham palace, the london eye, big ben, telephone booths, tower bridge, tower of London, primark (a suspiciously cheap clothing store), city hall, the shard, spalfields and borough markets and the gherkin. It was at a market where this treasure was spotted: After going on tours and visiting the museums it amazes me how much history is here, over two thousand years which seems inconceivable to me.I am also astonished by how many people live here, and how much there is to do here,I just hope I’ll be able to cover most of it. I have pictures of everything and everywhere including the most cliche London photo ever. wait for it…… Ah yes. That day I explored the city for six hours before a play in the West End with two sorority sisters from Chapman that I had never met and we took the necessary alpha gam pic in front of telephone booths. too bad my eyes are closed. 😦 It was with different groups that I did exploring, but here are the girls from the house that I hang out with and me at the tower of London with a view of the tower bridge. In addition to seeing the necessary historical landmarks here I have seen other necessary locations such as my new university! It is located in the Finsbury borough of London just south of where I am in Islington and it’s about a ten minute walk from Thoresby which is very convenient. There is also a grocery store very close to it so it’s perfect for grabbing groceries on the way home. The school is clearly quite different from Chapman being intermixed throughout the city rather than on a closed campus, but my school (SASS), yes I actually go to the school of SASS, is located within one building. Thank you to the person that named it that, I think between the time I studied at Yale and attended the school of SASS my education is looking pretty well rounded. By the way to the people that were wondering if this is actually a good university or not, well I still have no idea but we were told that its the number one business school in London with the Mayor of London as its chancellor so thats good! Today I took my ID photo and got my City University ID and i’m officially a student here! I also took the official picture with the harry potter location of the century. Platform nine and three quarters!!!! I went there at 11 pm after I saw the play so there was plenty of time to take a picture of me going off to school! If only getting to London were as easy as running into a wall with my cart full of luggage. One of the most important things about coming to London is Kate. That is Kate Middleton, the Duchess who hopefully will give birth in the beginning of April because that means I can be standing outside Buckingham palace awaiting the announcement of the birth!!! ahhhhhh. I don’t know if you recall the interesting official portrait of her that was unveiled about a year ago that was terrible, but I saw it at the national portrait gallery! It was not as terrible as some people joked about although not as flattering as it should be. I took a picture with it (oops-totally worth it)
I have also been experiencing something that I wouldn’t be able to do in the US…. that is clubbing. I have gone to a few clubs with all the girls from my building and the guys that go to city with us that go to arcadia many of whom actually go to chapman… yeah it’s complicated when you tell people where you go to school (city, arcadia, & chapman). They have been really exciting! Most of them have had good music, I have swing/swung? danced with people, and I got to wear my cute romper! For the people that may be worried about this, it’s most definitely necessary. All the girls have been super careful that we stick to the buddy system and that we don’t go anywhere alone or without telling the rest of the group and additionally the guys that we’re with have been very attentive to make sure that nothing happens to anybody. Essentially I couldn’t think of better people to be going out with. So I reiterate, no need to overreact 🙂 Another thing here that is new for me is cooking!!! I have started cooking at the house which has gone better than my past attempts. I have included a few pictures to prove this to you and because i’m quite proud of myself. I am even cooking chicken for my tacos as I am typing. The first two I did not make, obviously, they are just pictures of beautiful food they have here. The first is the chicken wrap I got at a market and the second is a dessert I did not buy at Harrods but I am sure it is delicious. The last three are meals that I made that were both edible and tasty. (For those that were concerned I found Italian dressing so I am a happy lettuce eater again).
One last thing I’d like to say is a cute story that happened the other night to the girls and I. We were on the tube late at night and we were fairly loud, talking and laughing. We had been told by the university that being quiet on the tube was the normal thing to do here, but what can we say? What we did say was simply that we’re American when we apologised to these two older men on the train for being so loud. One made some small pleasantries to some of the girls and then very seriously said “Don’t you ever do that again,” which was terrifying to hear because I had not though we had done anything wrong. We all became very silent and just stared at him until he told us to never apologise for laughing. It was so simple and yet it was one of the most friendly things a stranger had ever said to me. It made me really happy partly because our pesky american ways were not denounced, we demolished the “no talking to people on the tube” rule and received heartfelt advice. Well anyway I have spent way too much time writing this, which I am doing in addition to my daily journal (I really need more homework) just as you have spent way too much time reading this I am sure. I hope you enjoyed what I told you or you at least feel more knowledgable about my time here so far. Thanks for all the love and prayers.
With Love from London, Christine