It’s been a little over two weeks since I first arrived in The City. No real cultural shock (as expected given London is such a metropolitan city) besides the initial looking to the wrong side of the street when crossing and opening what would be the passenger side door in the States only to receive a stern look of disapproval from the driver. That and the unfortunate exchange rate, which will always be a shock. I probably should cut myself some slack when it comes to being frugal but I don’t think I can ever stop doing the mental conversion in my head and wincing a bit.
The setup of where I’m staying is quite similar to the typical dorm arrangement in the States. Though instead of having roommates or flatmates, the vast majority of students staying in my hall has singles. This of course maximizes privacy though it’s evident that sound-proofing the walls was not at all a priority when the rooms were built as I’ve already become accustomed to my Peruvian neighbor’s late-night Skype sessions and dependent on the girl next door’s hair dryer each morning as a trusty wake-up call. But hey, I’m not complaining.
I’m fortunate to be living a few minutes away (walking) from campus and in central London in general, which has allowed this poor college student to take advantage of exploring the city by foot. I think the most I’ve walked so far (was too cheap for the Tube) was 3 miles to and from destination, plus a few in between. Most places are fairly pedestrian-friendly, though I’ve learned that vehicles are quick to accelerate and are not afraid to run you over. While out I try not to be as much of the stereotypical, shameless tourist that I usually am, which explains why I still haven’t taken a photo by a red telebooth or with a Queen’s Guard. Rest assured, both will happen.
Orientation and Fresher’s Week have allowed me to get acquainted with the surrounding area, visit the touristy must-see’s, meet new people, and try some of the lighter but at times surprisingly good British cuisines. Right now I’m craving for a hearty Southern breakfast and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. I’ve been on the look-out for some good fried chicken (don’t shake your head at me) – if they exist – but am proud to say I have not succumbed to my gluttonous ways and visited the KFC down the road.