I realized today that I have been in London for roughly five weeks, though it only feels like two weeks. That first week is a bit of blur, really. I went to all of my obligatory orientation events, but skipped the getting to know London tours and the drinking pub quiz parties. That first week I ran around trying to collect things for my dorm and transport them by bus or underground tube, which at times was a little frustrating. Let’s just say I froze the first night without a duvet.
In the U.S. people are accustomed to massive stores where one can buy everything at one time, not so here. I went to one store where I found bedding and a few pots and pans. Another day after an intro seminar, I went to China Town and found plates, bowls, chopsticks and fabulous soupspoons, plus I had a yummy tofu and veggie lunch. When Kristin said she was coming in for a meeting at UCL (another fine London University) for her PhD, I asked her where I should go for my remaining items — knives, cups, glasses, etc. She said she knew the perfect places, yes plural.
I met her at Waterston’s books (great place to buy popular books in French) and we headed out to Planet Organic for a tasty, healthy lunch. Then we wandered off toward Oxford Circus, which is a bit of a circus no matter the day or time, but if you like shopping – it’s the place to go. I recommend loads of coffee and patience. Oh, I bought an electric kettle and it is my favorite new gadget. I’m going to have to buy one once I am home again. Anyhow, she took me to a few boutique stores and finally to John Lewis. Dorm room complete.
The past few weeks have been mostly venturing out around my campus on the Strand next to Somerset House and around my neighborhood on the Southbank. I live near London Bridge and the infamous Borough Market. http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/ …
Borough Market is one of my favorite places to be. I can’t explain it, but I love a good farmers market and Borough is a market on steroids.
There has also been loads of reading. I have a 10-week semester and 8 papers due, as opposed to 17 weeks at UNCC. The bureaucracy at King’s is fairly laissez-faire, but helpful. It all turns out in the end, though it is still in my nature to want the answer now, as opposed to later. I have four classes, which breaks down to four lectures with about 50 -100 students and three seminars with about 12 students. At King’s one must do the reading before class, it is not an option. It is also not an option to not attend without giving them prior notice. King’s is very structured, and I like it. They also do not tolerate rude behavior. One of my professors told students no phones, no facebook, and no tardiness. Once – kicked out, twice – fail the class. I wish it were like that in the U.S.
I really like my Econ professor; he is funny. He asked if anyone knew what moral hazard was and I was the only one. So, he told me to sit there and be quiet even if I think he is getting it wrong because the rest of them won’t know the difference. Then he threw chalk at this kid that always knows the
statistics for everything and said, “Are you secretly phoning a friend over there? You could get it wrong sometimes so that there is a purpose to my being here.”
I do enjoy living here, even if it is only temporary. Now that I am more settled, I hope to see some of my other friends that live in London soon, but I have had visitors and university, which is my first priority…