Monday, February 7, 2011

Day One

Well, there's only been one day of orientation so far, and classes don't start until next week, but I already have a lot to talk about. I'll do my best to go in order.

I've pretty much recovered from my very minor bout of jet-lag- I made myself have various cat naps in the second half of my London flight, and I stayed awake all through the following day, so I fell asleep last night around 12:30 and woke up at 8:15. Surprisingly, I had no problems sleeping, as I have unfortunately discovered that my mattress is as hard as a rock. I was sore all day today. The pillow was a bit flat, but soft, so that wasn't too bad. I'm really hoping my body will adjust soon.

Technically, today's orientation meeting didn't tell me anything too new, mainly since I'm living in ISH instead of a homestay, though we got our finalized schedules and Oyster cards, so that was good. Wendy and I went to the Great Portland tube station (which is right across from ISH) and put 40 pounds on our cards, so that should carry us for awhile. We also got to talk with a woman who moved to London from America in 1970, and shared with us some of her experiences and the changes/stereotypes that London has gone through since the 70's. Apparently, up until recently, hardly any British homes had showers, and that it was an "Americanized" custom that eventually bled through. Also, its apparently become really popular in London (and possibly all throughout England, I can't remember,) to just lay a duvet on a mattress, no other sheets. I'm glad I brought my Hollins blanket with me, hehe. Another note of interest: the building where our meetings and classes are (Connaught Hall,)  is on Tavistock Square, the location of the 2005 bombs which happened the day before my 15th birthday. Tavistock Square is also where there were a lot of protests in the past about the Iraq war which, according to Sara, "upset a lot of American students." My response: all power to them. I would have been happy to protest with them.

After the meeting, I walked down Great Portland Street with Sarah S., Emily U., and Robyn to get a feel for what was near ISH that I could go to in the future. There are tons of restaurants even on that one street, along with two small grocery stores, so as far as food is concerned, I'm pretty much covered. I'm pleased that the British sell almost everything in smaller portions (the smallest size container of milk you can get in London is a pint,) but it looks like there is no such thing as "reduced sugar" items, in regards to both juice and yogurt, so that's unfortunate. On the other hand, both the stores I went to (Tesco's and Sainsbury's) had a good selection of small meals, individual desserts, and already-made sandwiches with fresh ingredients. I had a Tesco's Light Choices ham and cheese one tonight, and it was really good.

One other thing to note for any Hollins friends who are reading this: the restaurant (it's technically a cafeteria, but they call it a restaurant) at ISH? Five times better than Moody. I feel healthy eating there, and you can get eggs whichever way you want along with fresh fruit for breakfast. They also have things like bacon (not crispy enough for my taste,) danishes, and muffins. I haven't been there yet for lunch or dinner.

Here's a picture of my side of the room I'm sharing with Wendy:

You can't see it in this picture, but I really like the view from the window. Here it is, for anyone who's interested:

Tomorrow, we're meeting at Connaught Hall again to get a tour of both the University of London Union building (of which we're members) and highlights of the British Museum^_^ Wednesday, we have a two hour bus tour of London in the morning, and then we're free for the rest of the day, so I think that's the day I'M FINALLY GOING TO BAKER STREET, YES! I'm definitely prepared to spend a shitload of money in the gift shop. I'm also determined to scope out the street where they filmed all of the "Baker Street" scenes in Sherlock (North Gower Street,) which is actually in the way when I'm going to Connaught Hall. I promise lots of pictures, Sarah!

So, day one of London was basically a blast, and I haven't even really gone anywhere yet. I almost keep forgetting that I have to take actual classes while I'm here *snerk*

More pictures and news on the way tomorrow! Cheers, mates!



  1. Classes are overrated... JUST TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

  2. The bed doesn't look comfortable... but it does look cute! I'm glad you found a solution to its hardness. What a great quaint London window view you have. Awesome.