Day 1 of my year in London

Barnet Travel Blog

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OY! What a long way to travel! I had a hell of a time getting over to London... waking up late, leaving the house late, thinking I forgot my passport and making my dad pull over on the way to the airport while I rummaged through my stuff, didn't find it, freaked out, and then found it hidden between papers, carried super heavy bags everywhere, had to say goodbye to Zach at the airport while I was feeling really sick to my stomach, couldn't sleep on the plane, ran like hell through JFK with my baggage cart wearing way too many layers of clothing, waiting in lots of long lines, not sleeping on the plane AGAIN, and then not being able to exchange any of my money because the girls I met on the plane said the rate was a rip off. Taking the bus from Heathrow to my new dorms didn't look like anything special. It was very green, but looked like it could have been many places I've been in the U.S. Still one of the biggest cultural differences here is driving on the other side of the road, and on the other side of the car. Riding on these huge buses (yes, the red double deckers are real, and are everywhere), I ALWAYS feel like we're going to get in an accident. Anyway, getting to the campus I'm living on was nice, though. You have to drive up this skinny little road called Snakes Lane that's lined with trees. It looks like something out of a movie. The campus itself is beautiful as well. it's very green, and we have this big mansion that we have classes out of. It's in the middle of a park (Trent Park), so that should explain quite a bit. The weather was moderate, which surprised me. Everything is pretty disorganized here, generally, and so I had to stand in line, or queue, rather, for a LONG time just to get my keys. During my short time here thus far, I've found that British people have a very different attitude about waiting in lines. In America, everyone is very impatient on a constant basis, but here, people don't find standing in line, and are polite and quiet about it. Anyway, I live in a very, very old brick building called Gubbay Hall, and I live on the second floor, even though it's called the first. I have my own room at the end of the hall in the corner. My room is ugly, but it makes me laugh. It's got stained and scuffed light yellow painted walls, a very ugly printed bedspread, beat up wooden furniture, a VERY stained old blue/gray carpet, and the ugliest curtains anyone could ever compose. And the radiator behind my desk is leaking. I do have a nice view out the window, though. Yesterday we took trips to the local Asda, which is a grocery store here (or market, rather). I think I spent $100... I needed to buy a lot of food because there's no meal plan and I'll have to cook out of the kitchen that I share will a million other people. The exchange rate makes us all cry. I went to a place to get my money exchanged and I gave the man $200 and got £101 back. Sigh. Also I've been having a hell of a time getting ahold of people at home because I can't find a place to buy a converter, and my phone cards aren't working. Everyone smokes and drinks and is very friendly. More friendly than people had told me. Random people working at the school will start talking to me and the other US exchange students at random. I love it. But I do miss California and everyone there very much. Anyway, I have to go to bed, but soon I will take pictures, and I will write about other things I've done.
footinfootin says:
It's a good thing that exchange rate is so lovely!
Posted on: Sep 22, 2006
lisalush says:
One of the things I found reallt strange about the English is that they don't mind queuing they LOVE to queue. If there is a free teller or aisle and one with a queue people naturally gravitate towards the queue thinking there is something wrong with the other. Very handy for non english people...take advantage when you can!
Posted on: Sep 20, 2006
cari says:
everything IS very disorganized, that's true. but snakes lane is an awesome name, so that kind of makes up for it.

haha, the "first" floor...i forgot about that. :)
Posted on: Sep 15, 2006
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Barnet
photo by: Maureenie