Oy, Has It Only Been a Week?

You know what’s difficult? Sitting down and writing down things that have happened to you. I am reminded now why I never was able to get into journaling. However, I’ve told too many people I was doing this to back out now, so heeeeeere we go.

LONDON! That is the city where I am. Where I have been for a week now, but it kind of feels like a lifetime. Basically it’s the first week of Cornell all over again… but without band camp. (Alas, England does have some flaws.)

I left Philadelphia at 10 p.m. last Wednesday night, and because I was a) pretty filled with adrenaline and such and b) on a plane that, while comfortable as far as planes go, was still a plane, I didn’t sleep a wink over twenty minutes the whole time. Despite my trepidation over what my lack of sleep would do to my body, we arrived in London right on schedule.

The rest of the day is, honestly, a bit of a blur. Made it through customs incredibly quickly, bid goodbye to my lovely seatmate Ashley, wandered through Heathrow with giant suitcases in tow, and managed to find the Queen Mary contingency, where a bunch of study abroad students (or associate students, as we call them here) sat awkwardly about making small talk.

Luckily I made a friend on the bus, when we realized we both had Harry Potter keychains on our purses. And that is how I met Darci, who is in most of my pictures from the trip thus far. It also gives even greater proof that, after the Bible, Harry Potter is the most important book ever written.

I was the first of my flatmates to arrive, and my first impression to Pooley House was… hmmm. Small. I haven’t taken pictures of my room yet because I haven’t finished decorating, but it is smaller than any room I’ve ever lived in, ever, with no shelves for my clothes or anything like that. I have my own bathroom, but it is so small that I have to take two minute showers to avoid flooding the rest of the room. To make up for the size I have a view of the Olympic stadium from my window… so that’s pretty sweet.

I met more of my flatmates throughout the evening, which was how I found out that except for the full-time students, all my flatmates were also from Cornell. I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen???? Nevertheless, they’re all nice kids.

Orientation started bright and early the next day, and I was the only one of my flatmates to venture down for breakfast. But this was lucky for me- because I often attempt to have the same approach to life situations as Sparknotes does to Shakespeare (No Fear!) I approached the table where Darci and Jen Gass (a girl from marching band) were sitting and asked to join their group for breakfast. They luckily welcomed and included me, which concludes the story of “how I met (a significant portion) of my other friends here.”

Orientation was a long process, a lot of which included us being told we should check things online. Since we weren’t scheduled to get Internet till Monday (the first day of class), this was a problem. That’s one of the things I’ve noticed the most about Queen Mary compared to Cornell- they’re just not as much on the ball about stuff like that. Another example of this is that they don’t post the course rosters online- once you get your classes, you have to go around to your departments and find out where everything is.

Luckily we did get on the Internet that day, and also went to the Westfield Mall (the biggest mall in Europe!) to get new Europe cell phones. Mom, I have never appreciated all you do for me as much as I did when I was trying to compare three or four different phone plans from different stores, so thank you. (This was also how we met the rest of what my current group of friends is, Shaun, Dave, and Joel. I am, of course, always willing to expand, but buying phones bonds you for life.) We spent the rest of the evening hanging out, laughing at Shaun’s boston accent, and generally having a good time, and that was when I knew I was going to be all right.

The week has flown by. We hung out, went to the premiere of War Horse (oh hi, Steven Spielberg, Prince William, and Kate Middleton!), and started class. Which is very different from the U.S. again- like I said, much less organized. But everyone seems nice and my classes are interesting, so it should be good. Also I don’t have class Friday. Which is awesome.

I’ve explored the East End a bit, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s not as touristy as Central London, which I like. It feels very cozy. I can walk a block to a small grocery store, and all the popular student pubs are super close. I’ve been hanging out in my flat a bit as well- my full-time flatmates have all been very welcoming, and the other associate students, like I said, are good people.

I’ll try to post earlier than next Friday, because frankly I couldn’t possibly describe this whole week in a single post. Until later, then!

Love,
Amanda