Monday, January 3, 2011

I've Arrived!

I am in London!

The sunrise over Wales.

Right now I’m sitting in my hotel room… alone, since the person who was supposed to be my roommate at the hotel (who also happens to be one of my friends) wasn’t able to come after all. However, I’m not as sad as I seem- I spent two and a half hours in a pub this evening with three fellow Queen Mary-ers. Don’t worry, I’m not living it up too much- I had a Coke and a delicious chicken sandwich with “chips” (a.k.a. French fries.) Then one of my university-mates, Drew, showed us a breakfast place he found, although we just found out that we get breakfast for free at the hotel- hooray!

But to start from the beginning…

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be feeling about leaving in the finals days at home. I love being at home with my family, so of course, I was sad to leave them. But really, I’m not going to be away for much longer than I usually am. True, I won’t be a two hour train ride from my hometown, but still, the internet makes it easy to keep in contact. Plus, I’ve been wanting to study abroad for years.
However, it seems my sad reaction was understated compared to everyone else’s. Adrienne, Drew, and Laura (my fellow QMs) kept saying how they had second thoughts several times, while I never really did. Not about going… maybe about leaving. At the airport, Mom and I took a long time to say good-bye, until finally I had to go or they wouldn’t let me through. Checking my bags was quick and easy, though when I went through security, I forgot to take the liquids out of my carry-on (sorry, Mom), so they had to send my bag through again. Then, getting on the plane, my ticket wouldn’t scan. Thankfully, they let me through anyway.

The flight was good. As usual, I didn’t sleep (I can’t in any transportation vehicle), though I tried. I did, however, watch two movies (The Social Network and Easy A- both very different, but both really, really good. I recommend them.)
We landed on time and while waiting for my big rust-orange duffel bag and turquoise suitcase, I skillfully fetched and steered two luggage carts through the baggage claim, only running over a few people with them.

A bus took us from Heathrow to our hotel, where I am now, and we didn’t have anything to do for a few hours. We weren’t supposed to sleep (or drink), but I’m pretty sure I dozed off for at least an hour. However, I’m glad I did- I was able to pay attention through the first orientation meeting, which led to a group walk to the nearest tube station, after which we branched off for the food we desperately needed. While dinner on the plane was lavish and delicious (yay, premium economy! We got, like… actual utensils and stuff), breakfast was a tiny cup of orange juice and an apple oatmeal muffin top. This is why we went to the pub (besides the fact that Drew wanted some beer.) When we got back, I tried to call home, but though I could hear my mom on the other end, she couldn’t hear me :(

So that has been my day. Tomorrow is more orienting, including a scavenger hunt around London. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that I’m going to be living here. Yes, I looked out the pub window and saw red double-decker buses and black taxis and thought, “I’m in London,” but it still feels like vacation. I don’t think it will sink in until I’m at school in a few days. Right now, though, I’m being super American and watching Friends :p

Some things I noticed today:

-There are seatbelts in their coach buses (though “coach buses” is redundant here… coach means bus), and not only are they there, but you’re expected to wear them.

There was a sink in the bus, too :/

-Stores that are along the highway- everything from clothing stores to car dealerships- advertise their sales so you can see them from the highway. Like, dresses are put on display in the giant windows so you can see them as you drive down the freeway (though they probably don’t call it a freeway here.)

-At least in the city, the houses are laid out like rowhomes, all right next to each other, with walled-off back “gardens” (yards) behind them. They all look identical… except for the tiny little touches like what they have in their back yards and the color of their curtains and the lights in their windows. It’s kind of cool to see the differences in what is outwardly the same.

-Their soap operas and teen dramas are just as ridiculous as ours.

I don’t know when I’ll next get to update; you have to pay for internet here and I don’t want to use up all my money on that! Hopefully I’ll save the time I bought wisely and be able to write soon :)


Post a Comment