London is exhausting. That’s why its taken me so long to start this blog, because I have been just exhausted from all of the walking arising from confusion. As in, I get lost a lot.

I say London, but I actually live in the Hampsteads, which is a quaint, posh town outside of central London. I have a large single that overlooks a very British courtyard but pay the price of living thirty minutes away from the closest tube station. You think ML is bad? HAH.

I’ll explaining by telling you about how I came from Heathrow to Hampstead. Very painfully, I had to drag two fifty pound luggages, along with a backpack, into the Tube. Mind you, the aisles are narrow so my luggages blocked the way, but I couldn’t do anything about it. When I reached my first stop, I had to “mind the gap”. It is both deep and wide and my luggage went bump. I had to switch lines and thus repeat the process. The worst part was carrying both pieces up a long flight of stairs. I pulled the helpless cute girl card and someone pulled one of the pieces up for me. Unfortunately, I was attacked by the stairs monster several more times in my journey and absolutely just flopped when I reached my room. But in Joan’s words, “I’m ripped”.

I obviously can’t take a taxi everyday to the tube station so I looked up the three closest tube stops. For the first few days, I stupidly walked all the way to Hampstead station: the walk includes passing a graveyard and walking through several alleys in the center of the town. And today I found out I could take a bus to Finchley road and the Jubilee line (which runs more quickly than the Northern line leaving from Hampstead station). Honestly, travel has been the biggest headache because the roads are all windy and maps aren’t my strong point. I had to ask for assistance at the station to figure out where Kidderpore Avenue was on the map.

Rewind to the beginning. Hello, welcome to my recording of my fuckups in London (in the same vein as teafunny).( I have made so many mistakes already that I am confident this blog will be frequently updated) But it’ll also be a remark on the funny things Britons do. Millions before me have written the same thing but I am discovering everything new myself. No matter how much I know about London and Britons, it’s still a shock when I experience them.

For example, I know that the drinking age is 18. But I was still taken aback when the dorm coordinators offered me warm, mulled wine and I heard one British student say she was afraid that she’s an alcoholic. Already? I wondered. Every orientation event ended in drinking, beginning with the meet and greet at Hampstead. And, we have a bar in the dorm. I repeat, in the dorm…can you imagine that? Don’t be too jealous my fellow Swatties.

Despite the many late night bars and parties in London that I might have access to, I have to leave by midnight or risk taking the Nightbus home. (Nightbus = Knightbus in Harry Potter…I hadnt realized that before) One of the study abroad advisors said it was his worst travel experience but I’ve heard its not too terrible.

Once I got to the Hampstead station, I screwed up again. Well, we, because it was really Anna’s idea. (She’s a lovely person…we just make mistakes sometimes) We took the stairs down without noticing the big sign that said “ONLY USE IN EMERGENCIES. THERE ARE 320 STEPS” It reminded me that Monk episode where he takes the stairs up 10 floors because he is scared of elevators. Well, it was 16 floors down. Yes, we walked 16 floors down, missed the train and were half an hour late to our orientation. We realized our errors when we looked down and could see nothing but more stairs. Since the lift only operates between two floors, it’s not like we could open the door at the 5th floor and take the the lift down the remaining floors. I will never do that again.

On another note, I stupidly decided to wear my heeled boots one day before going grocery shopping. What I didn’t know was that Sainbury is about a mile away and the path includes lots of cobblestone. Waling there was not bad (I enjoy listening to the clipclop of shoes on pavement) but walking back with armfuls of groceries that were coming out of their bags…not fun. Never doing that again.

The groceries themselves weren’t terribly expensive. But I limited my diet to hummus and pita, pb and j, and a pack of stirfry. Luckily all the Americans from last semester left behind especially desired items like coffee powder and shampoo.

Despite all my fuckups, I have had several wonderful travel experiences. A couple of us Americans (those are the only people I know as of right now) walked from Guy’s campus to Strand along the Thames River. It was particularly wonderful because there were maps detailing the way as we walked. At the end of our journey, we ended up at this hallal cafe and bought sandwiches. What a watse of money because the only veggie was tomato, cheese and lettuce for 3 pounds! That’s 4.5 dollars! And the chai completely burned my tongue, which is currently still swollen.

I’m beginning to ramble now so I’ll end it with a couple of things

1) I will be taking classes at the Globe in May

2) All of King’s campuses reside along the river

3) Lots of alcohol everywhere

4) Chilly but not very rainy at all

5) Very cosmopolitan

Tomorrow is the weekend so that should offer a blogload of interesting stories. Cheers for now.

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