It’s been a long day, but I’ve arrived and got everything packed away. It’s hard to know where to start.
The travel was long, but it went smooth and I had no big problems. Dad dropped me off in Rockford at 9 a.m. and I took the bus to O’Hare Airport. Got there in plenty of time. The only trouble I had was the security guard yelling at me to take my laptop out of my bag before putting it through the machine. I couldn’t understand her with her accent and just had to take her verbal beating. The flight from Chicago to Toronto only took about an hour. Arrived in Toronto and got to my gate about 45 minutes head of time.
The plane from Toronto to London was monstrous. I believe it was a Boeing 777 and probably held 300 people. Wikipedia has more about them. I was lucky to sit by a really nice guy that is my age. He has a little more travel experience than I do. He was born in Zimbabwe, lived in Botswana, Africa for 10 years, lived in London for 2 years, and now goes to a junior college in Paris, Texas. He was traveling back to London to visit his sister for a week before going back to Africa for the summer. This was his first year at the college and also plays golf for the college. He loves the hot Texas weather; he was saying how golfing in the 95 to 100 degrees last week was absolutely perfect. He was a really nice guy and gave me a bunch of advice on London and answered every question I asked. After getting off the plane, he made his way through the easy accessible UK Passport line (he has a UK passport because his dad was born here) while I waited in the long line for customs. After about an hour, I finally got through and made my way to the subway station. The subway took about an hour to get to Kings Cross and I didn’t have to transfer trains at all. It dropped me off about 8 blocks from my residence hall.
I got to my room, took a shower, made my bed, and took a 4 hour nap. This gives me a total of about 9 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. After this I walked over to Regent’s Park, a 400 acre park about a mile west of my dorm. I sat down on a bench and people watched for about 30 minutes. You see people from all over the world here. It reminds me of being in New York City, but not even close to as crazy. The traffic isn’t as bad around my area and I haven’t heard one frustrated driver honk a horn yet.
On my way back from the park, I stopped at a pub to have a late lunch (yes, I’d only been here for a few hours and I was already at a pub). Things work a bit differently here. Instead of having a waiter come ask me what I want, I had to go up to the bar and order. I also had to pay when they took my order. To charge anything here on a credit card, you have to charge at least 5 pounds ($10). It was easy to see how drinking is much more casual here. Everyone at the pub was drinking but me. A couple groups were ordering pitchers at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Much different than in the States. The English Rugby game was finishing up, so I got to see the end of that in the Pub. They won 17-14 but said it should’ve been a blowout.
I then had more energy and decided to wander more. I walked north of my dorm about a mile and ended up finding a grocery store. Much different finding my way around and trying to convert prices. I got all the essentials (bread, peanut butter and jelly, bananas, grapes, yogurt, and milk). I had to smile when I heard a little boy complain to his mom, “That whopping hurt, Mom” in a thick British accent. It reminded me of the little boy in this popular youtube video.
Next I walked my bags of groceries back to my room and unpacked all of my clothes. I found a note stating that they randomly searched my luggage, which is fine. But I also found a worn sock that I had never seen before. I guess that is their way of saying thanks for having to search my bag. Someone is somewhere far away in the world and wondering where their sock went.
My room is somewhat small, probably about the size of my dorm room at Hillcrest. I do have a bathroom in here, but I’m not sure if you could fit a sink, a toilet, and a shower into a smaller space. I thought I had a community bathroom though so it’s alright with me. I’m still awaiting my roommate. I’m guessing he is an Iowa student that will be arriving tomorrow morning.
That’s all for now. I’ll be sure to keep posting when I’m not out wandering around.