My First 24 Hours in London

It’s cold.

That was my first thought after stepping off the plane. Then it was, “Holy shit, I am actually in London.” That was closely followed by a rather long wait in customs and then a walk through Heathrow’s ginormous airport. It seems like something I have been waiting for since high school. On the charter bus from Heathrow to Roehampton, I watched the houses and cars going by me and at one point I thought I was going to be sick. The streets in London are really narrow, and then there is the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing! Then the exhaustion of being unable to sleep on the plane hit and I found myself nodding off every few minutes. After a few whirlwind hours of unpacking and orientation, I found myself eating Domino’s pizza and drinking cider with a couple girls from my dorm around 10:30 at night. Being in a city as big as London, you would think we would go out to a pub and get some dinner but it was dark, rainy and cold…


Now, I think I’m in love.

The last 24 hours have hardly been perfect, I have been awake since 7 a.m. Tuesday, could not sleep on the plane because of turbulence and my crippling fear of flying, and was forced to stand for almost two hours while we waited for the bus to take us to campus. Around 3 p.m. yesterday our flat rep showed us around campus and took us to the co-op (a tiny grocery store) where we were harassed by a creepy guy who kept calling me a cheeky lady in a cockney drawl. By 11 p.m., I was ready to crash and sleep until noon. Unfortunately, I found myself up at 7 a.m. getting ready for more orientation events.

2 p.m. found me crammed on a bus bumping into people as the bus driver made his way from Roehampton to ASDA, the British Wal-Mart! No joke, it’s owned by the same group as Wal-Mart. The way it was organized threw me off, but there is something strangely comforting about seeing the Wal-Mart smiley face as I am trying to convert pounds to dollars in my head. Then came the long trek back to Roehampton via the 265 bus. It is amazing how good a roast beef and cheddar cheese sandwich can taste after not eating anything since the night before!

36 hours later... still looking slightly excited.
36 hours later… still looking slightly excited.

Then we had a Welcome to Roehampton barbecue in Roehampton’s student union bar/pub/Starbucks. That’s right; there is a bar on campus. Well, there are actually two bars on campus, but the fact that there is even one was too much for me to handle! As my suitemates drank their beer I sat drinking apple juice, which my Southern girl self had mistaken for iced tea.

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So it’s rainy, cold, and crowded. My feet are killing me and I miss my mommy but the strange little birds hopping around campus are cute, and I love being able to wear scarves and jackets in early September! I have not seen much of London, but the people I have met are very friendly. It is not all rainbows and unicorns, especially when I could not seem to get warm last night, but I think I am going to really enjoy my time here.

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Tell us about your experiences in London in the comment section or by tweeting us @litdarling!

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