It will be cold, they said. It will rain, they said. And yet in an interesting turn of events I have found myself, dare I say it, sunburned? From my first full day here in London, the sun has been shining and clouds practically non-existent. While this has made taking in the numerous and varied sights of London a breathtaking experience, it has made my daily commutes to both work and CAPA for classes via the Tube a little stuffy.
Upon arrival to London, my most immediate concern was figuring out how to navigate the infamous Tube system. Lacking any directional sense, and having a short supply of travel savviness, the prospect of taking on London’s main means of transportation was fairly daunting. Despite the multitudes of people claiming that it ‘wasn’t that bad’ and ‘you will be okay’, I was still struck with anxiety over that little quintessential red and blue symbol. Luckily, with a little help from my new found friends from the program, I was able to have a successful first journey which emboldened my confidence going forward.
I was assigned two other roommates to live with in a flat in Shepard’s Bush, which is situated in West London. Neither of my roommates attend Pitt, but many of the people in the surrounding flats hail from Pitt. My one roommate had thankfully been to London a few years prior and could aid in helping me make sense of the various signs and maps situated in the Underground. After a few journeys, my worries were alleviated and the arching tunnels to enter into the Underground begin to look almost friendly. Unfortunately, there is a chronic lack of air conditioning present in London which I was not expecting and means the Tube gets quite warm during rush hour.
While at Pitt, there is little need to use public transportation on an average day as everything is within walking distance. Meanwhile, the city of London heavily relies on the Tube, and it is interesting to see how the character of the city can be seen in my commutes. I was not expecting the silence that holds supreme during the morning trip to work, as well as the innate inclination towards order and the lack of disarray. With so many people crammed into one singular train car you would expect some chaos, but the system has been perfected and order reins supreme.
I was not expecting the high level of affinity that Londoners feel for the Tube, but considering it’s role in day to day life it makes more sense. The transportation in London embodies the city in a unique manner. I think my next adventure will be to embody the school children of London and break out the scooter.
Thanks for reading!