I’m wrapping up my first week in London, though it feels like I’ve been here for much longer! I took a flight from New Jersey last Tuesday evening and arrived early on Wednesday morning, and although I planned to sleep a bit on the plane, that didn’t exactly go as planned – I stayed awake for the 7-hour flight, and since one of our Arcadia leaders advised against napping during the day in order to avoid the effects of jet lag, I didn’t sleep again until that night. I found out that she was right, and I had little trouble adjusting to the time difference from this point on. I’m really glad that we stayed at a hotel in the West End for the first two nights of the program, because it gave us the opportunity to explore and navigate the center of the city before moving to the Goldsmiths campus in New Cross, which is in the southeastern part of the city. I was able to visit a bunch of great attractions, including the British Museum, the shops at Covent Garden, and a few farmers’ markets. Arcadia students were all given tickets to see Wicked, which was really great, but the group I was with arrived at the theater 15 minutes late because we had a little bit of trouble navigating the tube – thankfully, it became much easier after that, and now I already feel much more comfortable traveling in the tube. The Citymapper app is incredibly helpful for figuring out transportation; it’s like a more accurate and user-friendly version of Google Maps. I haven’t taken the bus yet, but when I do I’m going to use the same app to look into schedules and routes.
I’m quickly realizing that there are an incredible amount of things to do and see in this city, and I’ve been trying to go to a different destination every day so that I know the places I want to explore further. Today I spent a few lovely hours just walking around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with my friend – the area is absolutely beautiful and I know I’ll be going there frequently for long-distance runs, which I’m very excited about. I also LOVE Borough Market, and it’s only a 10-minute tube ride from New Cross Gate (near Goldsmiths) to London Bridge (right outside of the market). I’m hoping to visit the Tate tomorrow (after I get some grocery shopping done…I’m a little more behind on practicalities than I’d like to be, but it’s because I’ve been prioritizing getting out into the city, and I’m okay with that for now!).
I still don’t have my course schedule yet, but we’re registering for classes this coming Wednesday and Thursday, and I’m looking forward to falling into a routine once school actually begins. But for now, it’s been great to meet my flatmates and other students at the Goldsmiths and have time to relax and explore. It’s been a wonderful, exhausting, thought-provoking week!