I'm in LONDON! It took a few days for the internet to get set up at the flat (look at me using my British vernacular, haha!), but now that I'm finally on I can write on my blog. I never realized how dependent on communication, like email and cell phones, I was until all forms were taken away from me (phone, internet). It was funny to me how the first thing on everyone's agenda was to get a phone as soon as we dropped our things off at the flat. I had a phone card to call James and it only gave me fifteen minutes to talk on it, so I freaked out and got really mad when it ran out of time and some British recording said "Goodbye" in that British-way before I could say bye to James. Then, of course, I was one of the few who took forever to get access to the internet. I ended up having to buy a new wireless card because mine was so old that it couldn't pick up a signal from the router in the box in the kitchen (literally 2 feet from my room!). All problems solved now though. Honestly, I did not realize how much comfort communication could give a person. I am proud of myself though that I didn't stay in my room and cry all the time the first couple days… I did cry a few times (which is to be expected I'm sure), but I was excited to be in London and get on with my adventure. The trip from the airport to the flat was probably the funniest, hardest and most tortuous travel of my life, but it saved us something like 30 pounds each, so like college kids we took the Tube. We learned pretty quickly that you stand on the right of the escalators in the UK (even if you have two huge bags of luggage!), or you get pushed aside, sneered at, or forcefully moved. The beginning of the journey wasn't terrible mostly because we had escalators and elevators, but then we reached South Kensington and saw all the STAIRS. We took turns lugging each other's luggage up and down the stairs so that someone was always watching it at the top and bottom of the flight. Made me really glad I didn't bring my largest suitcase with me!At one point I was literally "walking" two bags up a flight of stairs. I couldn't stop laughing at myself! But with the five of us together, we made it to the flat. I felt really bad for the man having to carry the bags the eleven or so flights to our flat because the elevator was broken, but I was relieved to get rid of those bags for awhile. I also did not realize how much jet lag would affect me. We all stayed up the first night we were in London so we could set automatically to London time, which I think was a good idea. I even got to play life-sized Jinga at a pub in Knightsbridge. However, I was struck by nerves/stress/dehydration and ended up throwing up twice the next morning. Fun stuff, let me tell you. I don't think I kept food down until about 3pm that day. I guess I had this preconceived notion that I would just be sleepy and irritable for a few days from the jet lag. I wish that was something I was a little more prepared for.
It actually took me awhile to feel like I was in London, because the first few days we just hung around the flat with Americans and a few non-Americans from the program. At the same time the streets didn't look that different from Boston. It took me a day to even realize that people were driving on the other side of the road in the other side of their cars! The day we went on a tour of London I finally felt like I was really here. We went past by all the major tourist spots and it helped me figure out the layout of the city in some ways. I got to see Big Ben for the first time! I have such a thing for bridges that Tower Bridge is now like my favorite site in London. I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of things to do in London, let alone the places to travel in Europe. I'm trying to do of-the-beaten path things since I know I'll be all touristy when James gets here. However, I didn't expect so many people on the program to be so well traveled! I feel like it makes it hard for me to travel some places since I don't feel safe/comfortable at all going to another country by myself, but everyone on the program seems to have been to a lot of the major countries tourists want to visit in Europe. A lot of people want to do day trips outside of London, which I think could be a lot of fun, but part of me feels like it will be awhile before I get back to Europe again so I want to make sure I go to as many places that I can/can afford.
I'm sure I'll write again soon... this week should be quite busy...