It is hard to put words to how I currently feel. I have embarked on a great journey to the “only read/heard about” and the place where I spent my time day dreaming of when I was younger. I never actually thought I would be here though, and now that I am, there are no words to describe my feelings.While my plane circled the clouds above London, I cracked open my window and let my eyes adjust to the sunlight for what I figured would be the last time for a long while. Periodically, planes would pop out of the white mass, and I kept expecting my large plane to nose dive in, propelling us down to the city. Yet, my airplane took another long and lazy circle above the cloud coverage and then slid into the clouds as you would ease into a hot bath. We stayed submerged in the gray scale for some time, my eyes constantly looking down and searching for my first glimpse of London. Spats of gray later, I was given my first, short glimpse of London. My stomach was in my throat. We eased out of the clouds as slowly as we had entered them. I could have spent hours flying over the city, taking everything in miniature. I gulped my stomach back down as we landed and everything became life-sized.
A friendly Londoner, who had been away for 7 months singing on a cruise ship, helped me with my overhead bag. He walked with me to the passport check. I asked him if he had any helpful hints about London. His answered, “People here are really friendly.” And he has not steered me wrong. It is not the friendly you think of in the States, where people smile at you and say hello– but rather a friendly where I have never felt uncomfortable, and I have always been able to ask locals for directions when I get lost. A friendly that will help you when they realize that you don’t know what you are doing.
The London airport was much simpler than the Atlanta, and I found my way with ease. Customs was not a hassle, and the long line seemed to move quickly. Before I knew it, I was given entry to the country, and finding my taxi cab driver holding a sign with my name on it.
I must have left my stomach on the plane to catch up with me. I still cannot believe I am here. But every day, as I become more comfortable and a little more confident that I know what I am doing, I start to realize that I will be living here for a semester. And really, thank goodness. I do not believe I could experience all of London in less. My friend Meredith has made it her goal to try one new thing every day she is here. My goal is to take opportunities– for instance, last night coming home a man from Italy asked two of my friends and I if we would like to go downstairs and learn traditional Scottish folk dancing. I do not want to miss a thing.
It feels as though I have been here for an eternity, but looking at my half unpacked suitcase, I know that is not the case. Today is the last day of our London orientation with Sara, and then start classes. Though, for LMU classes have already started. On Tuesday, I sat with my friend Emily in our creative writing class and nervously shared my writing I had just done about a terrible house I had just drawn. The students were from everywhere: Germany, London, Nebraska. I could not believe it. Afterward, I saw an opportunity to talk to one of the girls from London on the elevator. I am excited to be able to take a class at LMU, I feel as though it will give me the opportunity to make friends outside of the United States.
However, as Meredith reminded the group last night– it is okay to take photos as we are tourists. And yesterday was the day for it. We went on a bus tour of the whole of London. Then afterward we walked around and found places to eat. Then by some chance, while walking down a street I began to recognize things. And suddenly I remembered where we were. On my first night, in a sleepy-jet-lagged haze, I went with Morgan and Sana to a very friendly pub. It was intimate, the bartender was very nice, and they had a jukebox full of great music. It was a nice place to visit and catch up with each other, and upon leaving I was very sad to think that I would not be able to find my way back there again. Yet, as we explored the streets of London, I realized that I have a better sense of direction than I thought I had, and soon we found ourselves at its doorstep! Inside, we rested our feet and visited. It is a very nice spot, and I think we will go back. Afterward, we wandered some more and then took the tube to King’s Cross Station.
Doing the tourist-y thing, Meredith, Emma, and I found Platform 9 and 3/4′s! It was a very fun time! Then on what I think will become one of my favorite streets, we found a very reasonable Thai Food restaurant. The evening was a success and I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!