Friday, January 9, 2015

London: The First Week

    *Sorry! This post is going to be a long one! Don't worry though, there will be pictures!*

 It is weird to say that I am not writing this post from SMC, but rather my new dorm room in London, England. It is unbelievable to me that I am actually here right now. The first week is almost coming to a close, and let me tell you, it has been one crazy ride! They have literally packed so much into this first week that it is insane!
    On Monday I arrived at the airport. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8pm. I think I got there around 3(ish) because I anticipated that the lines through security would have been awful. Surprisingly, it moved fairly quickly. I said goodbye to my mom and dad and headed towards security and then to my gate. Then the waiting game began. It was really nice because it seemed as though everyone at my gate was a student. There were some from my program but also other programs heading to London. It was nice to sit with a bunch of girls from my program and get to know them. They are all so sweet and nice and it really made the time go by faster. Sadly, our flight got delayed even longer. We had to wait until 8:30. We finally boarded the flight and we were off! It was the biggest plane I think I have ever seen. It had 2 floors and was packed to the gills. The flight was long and sadly I did not sleep at all. I don't know why either, normally I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. I guess not on international flights though!
     Five and a half hours later we landed in London. We went through customs, collected our luggage and made our way to the place where our program picked us up. From their we boarded a bus that took us to the main building of our campus, the Atlantic House. I am currently studying at Richmond, the American International University in London. We have 2 campuses, Richmond campus and Kensington Campus. I am currently located on the Kensington campus. It is truly beautiful. Its full name is "The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea" and it is just that. The people that live around us are extremely wealthy (David Beckham lives here!).

My new neighborhood! It is literally so beautiful that pictures do not do it any justice. 

I looooovvvvveeee ittttt!!
My side of the room! Please note the weird. 

    After we arrived at the Atlantic House, I picked up my luggage and orientation packet and headed towards my room. I live on the second floor facing the road. I live in a double and my roommate is really nice. I unpacked a bit and then we were taken on a guided walking tour of Kensington. It was beautiful to see our neighborhood and all that it has to offer. It was also nice to finally figure out directions to things! Later that night we went to Imperial Student Union for drinks. It was nice to just relax and get a chance to talk to people (plus the drinks there are much cheaper than pubs around!). I finally got about home around 11pm and passed out asleep. I was so tired from not sleeping in more than 24 hours!
    The next day we had to wake up for breakfast fairly early and at around noon we went on a bus tour of London. It was really nice to be able to see all the sights like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye! After that 3 hours tour we had an opening meeting and then we went to see WICKED! Yes, you read that right! My program gave us all free tickets to see Wicked and it was amazing! We all headed back after the show and again, passed out asleep.
Big Ben and the London Eye

Tower Bridge

West Minster Abbey. Please note our guide in the front. Her name was Susanna, so naturally she was awesome. 

    Yesterday we had nothing to do until 11:30 (thank goodness, we were all exhausted!). We went to an awesome travel seminar to give us helpful hints about how to travel places while you are here. After that, a few friends and I went up to High Street Kensington (just a short walk away) to do a little shopping and to just wander around. We then headed back towards campus for an activities fair. Then at night we attended a boat party on the River Thames. It was a little cold, but the view from the boat was beautiful!
I mean seriously. this view is gorgeous. 

    Today has been pretty relaxing so far. I had nothing to do until 1:30 and that meeting only lasted abut 15 minutes. After the meeting my friend and I decided that we wanted to explore Hyde Park. We were mainly going there to dog watch and find the Peter Pan statue. We succeeded at both!
Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park!

Kerryn and I strolling the park looking at puppies. 

    Here I am now, sitting in my room, typing this, updating my Instagram all while drinking a Diet Coke. I know I was nervous to come here, and don't get me wrong, I am still nervous, but so far this has been an amazing experience. I am so happy with the people that I have met and the places that I have been able to see. I cannot wait to see what this semester has in store for me!


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