Welcome to London! What a week…
Alright, I have officially been in London for a week now…so it is about time I write something!
What they forget to tell you in orientation is how difficult it actually is to wrap your head around the initial experience of going abroad. There is a lot of talk about culture shock, putting your experience into perspective for the long haul, and learning the difference between study ABROAD and STUDY abroad. But, there is not much talk about how to process and survive week one. As I write, I am trying to coherently articulate so many different thoughts running through my mind. Overwhelmed is not quite the right word, but it is close as I have seen and experienced more things this week than some folks may in a year.
My personal philosophy on this matter, should you care to ask, is that the current frenzy is due to the fact I am both living in a new place and being a tourist at the very same time. In some countries this might be different. However, London is a huge city that many of us know about long before we ever get the opportunity to study here, and as such there are the obligatory tourist sites to see and things to eat before we can really experience what it is like to live in a new country. When mixed with all the errands and necessities of moving into a new home, a lot of things happen at once.
For me, the hardest part right now is deciding what to write about first. That said, so I don’t overwhelm you all any further with the thoughts in my brain, let’s start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start…wait wrong country).
After a long flight across the Atlantic, I arrived at London Heathrow and enjoyed my first glance at London through the window of a bus enroute to the IFSA-Butler Offices where I now live. It is a rather ‘posh’ area near the edge of the main city, but a location with a lot of character. One of the best parts of that day was my first taste (literally) of British culture in the form of Fish & Chips at The Fish House of Notting Hill. Yes, you read that right, Notting Hill is within walking distance from here! The food was delicious, and much as you would expect, the location is not too bad either.
In fact, after running errands the other afternoon, a friend and I decided to walk home through Kensington Gardens instead of taking the tube since it was on the way home. Although my writing may sound a bit nonchalant, the natural beauty of the city is almost impossible to put into words. There are a lot of natural spaces open to the public throughout the city, which is very different from what I am used to back in the States. I feel very lucky to be just a walk from some of the most beautiful and historic places in the UK, and hope you enjoy this glance at my first week until I have a chance to share more of my adventures with IFSA-Butler in London.