Well, here goes nothing… I have made it to London! And trust me when I say, it was quite the journey – I will sleep well tonight! These posts will be ramblings of my adventures which I’m sure only dad, uncle Bob, Aunt Jean, Grandma and a few others will actually enjoy reading :).
Leaving Des Moines yesterday was difficult, I had to buy dad a drink to calm his nerves (and maybe some of my own). When the time came to say goodbye I was too nervous about my connecting flight and the stress of getting to London to cry. The flight to Chicago was a breeze, I felt like I sat down for twenty minutes and we had arrived. Then I had no trouble finding my way to terminal C16 to London Heathrow. There was a small girl sitting next to me while I waited and I enjoyed hearing her talk to her ‘mum’ on the phone. She kept saying, “I fear they won’t collect all of our baggage” – she was probably seven. The flight to London was miserable. I only slept about an hour and my back ached the rest of the time. I’m glad it will be another 4 or 5 months till I have to endure another. The meals on the plane were exceptional though, I had barbeque chicken for dinner and cantaloupe for breakfast.
After landing, I didn’t meet the girl that I had planned to at baggage claim. However, I noticed a girl, my age, looking at the IES tag on my backpack and while I was getting off the plane she waited in her seat to ask me if I was staying in the same place. Her name is Julianne and we decided to travel together. Let me tell you, things go much more smooth when you have a traveling partner in a new city! We took the Heathrow Connect, less expensive but a longer ride than the Heathrow Express, and the cost was 9.10 pounds. Then at Paddington Station we got on the Circle Line to Liverpool Street Station for 4.3 pounds – after that I bought a 1 pound water bottle. I sympathize for those who complain of jet lag now. I nearly fell straight asleep on the tube, in the way that keeping your eyes open is the nearly impossible.
When we got to Liverpool Street, we dragged our luggage on a five minute walk to our building – Nido Spitalfields. And it is just as beautiful and luxurious as the pictures!! I will have some up shortly of the view during the day. The night view, as I’m staring out the window next to my desk, is my favorite.
My roommate is Tyler from Denver, she goes to school in New York. She is on the shy side, as was Julianne.
At 4 pm we took a short walking tour and bought a week of unlimited use for the tube, oyster card until my student oyster card comes in. It was 34.20 pounds. Then at 6:30 we had a fifteen minutes housing orientation, note they said you can drink booze anywhere anytime – just no drugs. They seem to be surprisingly easy on the rules.
Tyler, Julianne and I then took a walk on our own after the orientation to try to find a place with some food and towels. A good walk away we found a four story Marks & Spencers but they said they had just stopped holding towels, we tried Tesco too and they didn’t. So I will air dry tonight! As for food..and don’t judge..I got Oaties, which are oatmeal biscuits(thats what they call cookies), instant hot cocoa (it was 30 pence), wholenut peanut butter, a loaf of whole wheat bread, and two bags of ‘The Real McCoys Ridge Cut’ which are like the little bags of different kinds of chips we get. They have 2 of each: cheddar&onion, salted, salt and malt vinegar. It was 2 for 3 pounds. So no, grandma, no fruit yet!
The road signs are hard to find. When they say its a ten minute walk, its like walking from my house to bailey park, but with lost of talllllllll buildings and winding narrow roads. Everyone here is SO nice, they really go out of their way to make sure you are going the right direction and if you look confused they will come up to you and ask if you need help. I was almost taken aback with the kindness.
To be quite frank, when I was feeling the jet lag on the connect and tube, I was asking myself why on earth did I do this. I am missing a term of my senior year at Knox with all of my friends, etc. That and I don’t have my home or anything I know. But after finishing out the day and meeting some great people, I couldn’t be more glad. I hope it stays that way too. Walking freely amongst the streets, and I broke the rule I was out a little past dark, is a complete 360 from anything I’ve experienced.
Brief Schedule of the week>>>> Tomorrow is a whole lot of orientation over in Bloomsbury, Friday I have a lot of free time but with some more orientation as well until 6:30 when we go see “As You Like It” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (it will be outside), Saturday we are going to the Paralympics and Sunday is a sightseeing bus tour of London!
Miss you all enormously & lots of love ❤