Welcome to my first blog post from England! I am very excited to share my experiences from living in a new environment for the past week and a half. I am fortunate enough to say that I am living in the West Kensington/Hammersmith area of London, in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. This is within zone two of the London Underground, which has nine total zones that increase numerically the further you get from Central London. Most people who work in London live further away and have a lengthy commute to work, so I really appreciate being as close to Central London as I am. I also love that there are a good amount of CAPA students living in the same building as me, so I have been able to get to know people who are in my classes and/or also learning to navigate the area.
My roommate, or flatmate, is actually my friend from back at the University of Pittsburgh. Her name is Steph, and we were suitemates in our freshman year dorm. We got along very well and naturally jumped at the chance to live together again once we found out we both got accepted into the program. We are staying in a studio, so have a shared bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Considering the location being so desirable, I am actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of space we have. We have a couch, table, and television in our room, and were able to successfully fit all of our clothes into the closet.
I absolutely adore the West Kensington/Hammersmith area. I haven’t found it to be overly hectic and overwhelming, yet there is still plenty to do and see. We had the chance to do a walking tour of the area, so we learned about some of the history and architecture here. One of the best qualities of the area is the close proximity to the West Kensington, Barons Court, and Hammersmith Tube stations, from which you can venture to just about everywhere in the city. West Kensington has loads of restaurants that I am yearning to try, especially Thai food and Turkish kebabs. Hammersmith, on the other hand, is a great area for shopping or a night out. What more could anyone need?
As expected with any significant change in life, I have faced a few minor challenges. The first was getting used to looking the opposite direction to cross the street, which luckily was not too hard to overcome after a few days. Navigating the area and using public transportation was also a bit confusing at first. Overall though, I would say the biggest challenge is grocery shopping. There aren’t any large supermarkets in the immediate area, and even when I can find somewhere to shop, it is pretty difficult to find and identify products. Other than that, I feel like I am doing a great job at becoming a local!