My British Commute

It has officially been 11 days since landing here in London and things are finally getting into a routine and becoming normal. I live in the Shepard’s Bush area of the city, which is just west of where most everything is. Although it’s the farthest commute I’ve ever had to work or school before, I actually quite enjoy the 40 minutes every morning and afternoon.
Back in the US, I have never had longer than a 15-minute bus ride to school. Yet, with every class I had, I dreaded the thought of taking the Port Authority to campus. Completely opposite to that, though, I love my commute of taking the London Underground here. Unlike the Port Authority buses in Pittsburgh, the tubes here are a peaceful time. It seems as though everyone in London has an agreement that a commute is a time to keep to yourself and either listen to music, read a book, or read the newspaper. Even when the train is packed to the point of feeling like sardines, you look around and every single person is quietly in their own world. I especially enjoy this because living in an apartment with five girls, attending class and site visits, and working in a fast-paced, small office can be stressful and tiring at times, so having those commutes during the days with time to myself is nice. What isn’t so nice, though, is the lack of air conditioning in London. With temperatures in the mid-70s and trains packed with people, the commute can sometimes be unbearably hot. There are times where I feel as though I can’t even breathe yet looking around, I always notice that no one else looks phased by the heat. People wearing full suits with a jacket don’t even seem to mind it and all I usually wear is a dress and a thin cardigan. This must be because the locals are used to having no air conditioning anywhere, but this is definitely an adjustment for me, where you can find AC in every public place in the US.
Regardless of this heat, though, I would still take this British commute over any other commute I’ve had to do. As stated before, though, there are a set of “rules” that all Brits follow for the most part. So, for any American coming to London I recommend taking the tube but avoiding talking if in a large group. After the first couple of days in London, my roommates and I quickly learned that talking altogether, even in a whisper, was loud and not the status quo here. Additionally, if you do decide to just have a conversation with one person (which is still common, just not large group conversations), do not talk loudly and feed into the American stereotype. Everyone here already thinks us Americans are annoyingly loud and rude, so don’t prove them right. With that said, though, I will always love how the Brits commute and I’m excited to do it for the rest of this trip.378D4E2B-1076-49CC-8808-73AC6A0D2A64.jpg