(Written 1-15-16) Hello family and friends. I have safely arrived and settled in at Richmond, the American International University in London. The good news about my flight is that I sat next to a girl who was just as antisocial as myself and ending up moving to an empty row (score! An entire row to myself). The bad news is that I got very little sleep and am still recovering from my sleep deprivation (staying up late exploring the city the past few days hasn’t helped either).
My accommodations at Richmond are amazing (I think I live on the most beautiful street in all of London). I know for sure that the neighborhood is the richest in London (apparently the cheapest flat goes for about 1.5 million pounds–just google the conversion to USD… Crazy). The pictures below are the view from my 4th floor room and the view on the street level. The only possible downside is that I live on the 4th floor in a building with no lift. But I’m going to look at this in a positive light and be happy that I get a fab workout whenever I go to my room–maybe by the end of the semester I won’t be wheezing.
The first couple of days I have attended a lot of orientation events and tours of my neighborhood and the surrounding areas. We rode around London on a double decker bus and got to see Buckingham Palace (alas, the Queen was not in so we didn’t stop for a spot of tea), Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey. The group also received a ticket to Wicked a couple of nights ago, which was AMAZING. I had seen it twice before and was still spellbound. I can already sense that much of my money will be going towards theatre tickets.
Yesterday I went on a “boat party” trip down the Thames where we saw the most beautiful views of the city. Unfortunately it was extremely cold (I can just picture the dirty looks I’m getting from any readers in MI…), so we couldn’t stay out on the deck for long. Still, the view was spectacular. After we docked a bunch of us went to a bar that does karaoke. It was fun dancing and singing along to some popular songs from all time periods. It was very obvious that the Americans were in the house when songs such as Don’t Stop Believin’ and Sweet Caroline came on. The loud American stereotype is unfortunately spot on.
All in all I love London so far. I love the traffic and the social norms that make talking to strangers a rare occurrance. I love that the pubs close at 11. I even love the daily rain (at least it’s not snow right? Again… My apologies for my Midwestern readers…). Most of all I love living in a city again, and can’t wait to explore further.