I have been in London now for almost over three weeks and I have not found it in me to start a blog about my journey until now. I’ve read my fair share of all of your travel blogs, inspired by your love for the London Eye (it’s really just a large ferris wheel) and the laughs you shared with your new abroad homies teasing the guards at Buckingham Palace. However, the start to my digital diary is deriving from a whole different breed of “abroad.” This newfound ingenuity stems from one extraordinary week consisting of a raging cough on Monday, double conjunctivitis (more known for it’s cute name, pinkeye) on Thursday and ending my Saturday night in a police station.
Before you get ahead of yourself, no I did not get arrested, although that would have been a way more hardcore story to tell. My sick and red eyed American ‘bum’ got robbed of her god forsaken iPhone at O’Neils in Soho. There were tears (most likely made of vodka) streaming down my face, as I screamed in a very ladylike way “what the fuck” to everyone I encountered until I came to and realized that I was painting the ever so stereotypical (but clearly true) idealized vision of the “Long Island white girl.” We all have our moments.
But in the messy slew of falling asleep waiting to file my claim at the Charing Cross police station (along with ten other female “victims” of this thievery) and sharing nervous laughs with the policemen as my Woody Allen defense mechanism humor started to pour out of my mouth, I slowed to a dead stop on this roller coaster ride of an adventure around 7:30 AM. I realized that I was 1. alone 2. without any sort of cellular device and 3. in a foreign city/country/continent that I wasn’t extremely familiar with. This realization didn’t exactly hit home until I well… got home. After waiting forty-five minutes for the tube to open, riding the Northern Line and trudging through Euston station, holding my head down in some sort of ‘walk of shame’ way, I found myself finally jabbing my key into my flat’s door about an hour later. I threw myself onto the couch and for the first time became fully aware that I am on my own here in England. Yes, I have access to family and friends back home for support as well as personnel and friends in London to provide me with help, but other than that I am here with myself and myself only. It didn’t occur to me until that moment where I was able to debrief from the whirlwind of the previous hours and the week that stood behind me that this experience is not only going to be fun, cultural and full of surprises but on a deeper level, extremely empowering. It is becoming easier to be my own best friend in this foreign land, and that is one relationship I have yet to establish.
Speaking about relationships, I have made some incredible friends here thus far ranging from all across the United States to as far as Latvia. With this has come the odd compliment of “I like your accent!” (which is like totally oh my god like the weirdest thing like I’ve ever heard) leading me to become probed into pronouncing “coffee” and from my new Californian buddies, “chihuahua” (come on give this Long Island lady a break I’m becoming more hoarse than usual). It also is always fun getting the “YOU’RE FROM NEW YORK?” question from all the Londoners I meet. One even exclaimed, “I want to move there!” When she said this I asked her if she had ever been she replied “No.” I was amused. Back to my friends: the people I have surrounded myself with here make me laugh, challenge my way of thinking and continue to expand my cultural horizons with every conversation, exchange and experience (oh and they’re really good for adventuring (Snapchatting every semi-monumental moment along the way) and the regular Thursday 4:00 PM pint meet-up at my Uni’s private pub). Speaking of– is it Thursday yet?
Pretty soon I will have been living here for a month but honestly it feels like I have been here for a lifetime. Even though I don’t know all of the cultural cues and innuendoes, I am proud that I know to not ever dare stand on the left side of the escalator unless you want to get trampled, call my pants “pants” considering I would then be referring to my underwear and that if a human were to ever get locked inside the Topshop (Dear God, it’s me Alex– please?) on Oxford street you would survive (considering the cafe, coffee shop, cupcake and bubble tea bars, hair and nail salon, tattoo and piercing parlor and of course the eyebrow threading station located on the main concourse and basement levels). So I leave you with this, when London gives you lemons, throw them away and go get yourself a pint and some chips. The sun will come out tomorrow (actually it probably wont so don’t get your hopes up).
I am off to do some research for class, AKA living my daily life and reading some magazines (this rocks) before I need to get some much needed beauty sleep before my daily participation in London’s sweaty, crowded and sometimes smelly (no, who am I kidding– always smelly) rush hour to get to uni. Nothing says good morning like a twenty minute tube ride in some old man’s armpit. Ah, city life I adore you immensely and I love you all dearly.