What I have learned in London Thus Far:
1. Always carry an umbrella and a Jacket: Ever since I got here, it has been cold and raining. Every now and then the weather will break, and it will warm up for a while, only to cool back down with more rain. However, even with the steady overcast here, the sites are beautiful & architecture unreal.
2. Lemonade is not the Minute Maid Classic I know and Love: I ordered a Lemonade at a restaurant, and was surprised to find that it consisted of a clear carbonated Beverage with a lot of lemon flavoring… Kind of like a sprite without the lime! lol I was sad to say the least, but it was somewhat refreshing.
3. Converters and Flat Irons don’t mix all that well: I almost lost my lifeline (my Flat Iron) after I plugged it into my converter. The converter started smoking and my flat-iron essentially melted the glue that was holding the Plates to the iron…. I almost Lost my mind! But no worries everyone the Flat Iron Survived!!! May need a little repair though.
4. Big Ben, is pretty Big: Our class went to the London Eye after our orientation to enjoy the view. Everything was beautiful. Although I haven’t had the chance to see many sites up close and personal yet, I did get a good look at the notorious Big Ben!
5. All English is not the same: Ever since we arrived my friend and I continuously laugh at the “language barrier” that seems to exist between us and some of the locals at restaurants and shops. For some reason, they look at us as if we are speaking a totally different language than they are. Although I realize that there are several nationalities we have come across since we have been here, people here look at us as if we are speaking Swahili. lol All of this does make me realize just how many words we use in America that have Spanish or French origins. Either way it goes, I am continuously trying to perfect my British accent, and hope to have it perfected by the time I leave.
6. Indian Breath fresheners make me feel like a Bird: We went to an Indian restaurant during orientation for lunch. The food was interesting to say the least, but overall was good. They let us sample pretty much everything on the menu, some things I enjoyed, and some I will probably never eat again. While leaving the restaurant I saw a tray of assorted colorful seed-like food. I asked the lady what it was and she told me they were Breath fresheners that they use in India. So I tried the red ones… and I felt like I was eating bird seeds with a hint of mint. I found the whole idea rather interesting however!
7. London would be so much more fun if I were RICH: the other day we took the underground (the Subway) to some of the shopping areas. It was gorgeous of course! There were literally Blocks and Blocks of Beautiful buildings that housed every clothing store you could imagine, everything from Louis & Hermes, to H&M & Guess even a Bentley & Rolls Royce Store on the corner. I was in Shopping Heaven. I even walked past my BFF Tiffany’s but didn’t go in :-( There was so much to see. We walked for a few hours and probably didn’t even see half of the stores in that area.
8. Don’t try to get on the subway during “rush hour”: I keep hearing that many Americans are looked at as impatient, spoiled, and rude people who are always in a hurry. However, the few days I have been here, I have yet to hear one “excuse me” as we hustle through the crowds and are bumped and pushed along through the tunnels of the subways and moved out the way through the streets. Today, when everyone seemed to be getting off work, the underground was packed! They closed the doors into the subway station for a while to let the people thin out before we could enter. Even when we made our way downstairs, everyone was fighting their way onto the train. Once we made our way onto the train, it was like we were in a can of sardines, holding our breath, until we made it to the next stop. I have never been so close to a group of strangers in my life. Thank God I’m not claustrophobic.
9. Never Throw away your change: In America we are so use to throwing our change into our bag only to have to “dig it out” when we feel we want to “get rid” of it. The first time I bought Coffee, I was surprised to learn that there is nothing smaller than a £5 bill. When the guy gave me a handful of coins and told me it was £5 in change, I looked at him like he was crazy! The money is a bit difficult to get use to, and it normally takes a while to count my change up before I pay. I feel like I’m that kid that is in line in front of you at the grocery store with a bag full of coins. You know that kid, whose mom sits there and lets the child count out each coin “All by herself” so that she can eventually learn the value of money…. Yeah… that’s me right now!
10. Smoking Kills: I am amazed at the amount of people that smoke here. Everyone walks around the campus smoking and all down the street. My friend and I were joking around saying that maybe they never go “the memo” here that smoking will kill you. Then we walked into a convenient store only to see that each pack of cigarettes was labeled with the following “Smoking Kills”. So much for the “surgeon’s general warning” we have that breaks down the possible effects of smoking. Gotta love the Blunt, Straight to the point British… No need to beat around the bush. Guess they got the memo…
All in All, I am loving London and this experience. I’m looking forward to experiencing more of what the city has to offer! Stay tuned for more adventures!
Until Next time,
“Strivers Achieve what Dreamers Believe”