It’s almost unbelievable how quickly time flies by over here. I feel I’m still catching up from jet lag, and I’ve already been here for an entire week! However, I feel time is going by so fast because each day I’ve filled up with activities and memorable events. Here’s a quick recap of my first couple of days in London.
The first day I got here I was tired. I got my phone set up, met my 7 flatmates, all of whom I’ve become good friends with, and I walked around the neighborhood. I am located in Kilburn, which is in the northwest section of London, and is really close to the main street of Kilburn. The main street has shops, restaurants, pubs, grocery stores, and just about everything I would need; plus the main strip is only a quarter mile from my flat. The apartment which I am staying in is quite nice as well, with 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room with a couple of couches and a TV. We are located in an apartment complex that consists of 6 apartments and all of them are housing my fellow classmates. I was really happy when I found out about this because I was hoping I would be located near other kids in the program.
Day 2 and Day 3 were quite relaxing and easygoing . Although the mornings were dominated by orientation and school related activities, we were free to roam around and explore the city in the afternoon and night. We took a self guided tour around Imperial College, and saw all of the major buildings and libraries. My roommates and I also walked around Paddington Park as well, located just a few blocks from our flat in Kilburn.
Day 4 was overwhelmingly exciting, as in the morning, we took a tour around our neighborhood in Kilburn, learning about all of the historical sites and background of the area. We then went on a 3 hour long bus tour all around the city, seeing Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, as well as many of the famous historical restaurants and shops. Finally, we stopped at Buckingham Palace, which was absolutely stunning. Even though I had already seen the palace on a trip to London a few years ago, I couldn’t believe how impressed I was the second time through. In some ways, it was a nicer visit this time through, because it was significantly less crowded this visit than my visit a couple of years ago, allowing me to take better pictures and get better views no matter where I walked.
My roommate, Andres, and I also got last minute tickets to a soccer match that night as well. One of my other roommates had 2 tickets but decided not to go, leaving us with about 45 minutes to get to the match that took about 45 minutes to get there! We quickly hopped in an Uber, and made the trek north to Wembley, one of the most famous and storied soccer stadiums in the world. We didn’t get to our seats until after the game had started, but the experience was everything I could have imagined. The seats had a great view of the action, and the home team, Tottenham Hotspur, won 4-0! Since I follow soccer pretty closely as well, it was nice to be able to recognize and cheer for players who I’ve only ever been able to watch on TV.
As I wrap up an exciting and rather exhilarating first weekend in London, I can’t wait to explore everything this country and city has to offer. In my next blog post, I’ll be talking about my classes, as well as my first week on the job in my internship. I’ll also touch upon my experience with the tube, or the massive subway system here in London. Cheers!