Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: Classes & A Cruise


Another blog post means another amazing week gone by! How am I already uploading my third post? It feels like I've been here for so long but also like time is flying by. Come Wednesday I'll have officially been here for three weeks and it's been probably the best three weeks of this entire year. 2019 has been a pretty good year overall but these past three weeks have been just amazing. 

This past week, while not as eventful as the week before in terms of bigger events, was just as fun and exciting! We got our first tastes of typical London weather as we've started getting clouds and rain everyday, but it's still been pretty sunny and the temperature is fantastic for me. I love chillier weather and the fact that it's supposed to be 90 degrees Fahrenheit back home makes this 60 degree weather feel so much better. 

I've also started getting more into a routine with when classes are, when eating is, when homework should be done, and when hanging out is a priority. I'm still struggling a bit to incorporate my reading schedule in so that I can get to all the books I need to review but I'm sure that it will all get figured out in the next couple of weeks when things continue to slow down a bit.



Monday
September 23, 2019

Monday was my first taste of rainy London weather and my first day of classes. I woke up to the fire alarm going off--apparently it goes off every Monday as a test. It's probably good, though, to not sleep in every Monday. I ended up getting lunch on campus--my first official time eating out--and it was super yummy. I didn't have class until 3 pm so I basically just chilled in the library until I needed to be there working on blog stuff and school stuff.

My first Business of Writing class was pretty interesting. I was a bit worried since my classes here are three hours long but we got a 20 minute break in the middle of it that helped split up the time. During that break, I ended up getting super inspired on writing and fixing my novel and have decided it's almost time to get back into writing that. Towards the end when we split into groups it was pretty fun just getting to know everyone in mine and swapping funny writing-related stories.

I had some pretty yummy dinner and ended up just hanging out with my flatmates for a bit before going to bed early (and by going to bed early, I mean sitting up until 1 am transferring all of my current novel progress to Scrivener).



Tuesday
September 24, 2019

This was admittedly my most chill day of the week. It was raining pretty heavily and I was still getting over my sickness from Fresher's Week so I decided not to go out and do anything. I basically just spent the day getting caught up on blog posts, cleaned my room, and worked on homework.

I did hang out with my flatmates for a bit while I was making dinner. I can't recall what exactly we were doing but it was no doubt super fun. Afterwards, I was doing--you guessed it--homework again before heading to bed pretty early.



Wednesday
September 25, 2019

I had my first Hidden London class on Wednesday. I woke up a bit early so that I could get ready since my lecture was at 10 am. The class itself seems like one that I will really enjoy--it's creative writing focused and we do a bunch of excursions into London based around different texts we read and then write about themes from those excursions.

Afterwards, I just got some lunch and chilled in my room. I watched some Netflix, worked on even more homework, and then stayed up super late talking and having a good time with my flatmates.



Thursday
September 26, 2019

I spent most of Thursday chilling as well. I did even more homework (thank you literature class for making me read at least one classic novel a week), watching a new Netflix show, and worked on more blog stuff.

Later in the afternoon, I walked to a shop off-campus called Londis with a friend. It was my first alcohol purchase off-campus and it was a bit thrilling, if I'm being honest. The culture around drinking, while in many ways similar, is really different than in America.

I wasn't really planning on drinking when we got back but then we were playing drinking games and it's just not as fun playing them with a glass of water. I got tipsy for the first time ever and overall just had a good time. We moved from drinking games to card games to Never Have I Ever which was just hilarious.

By the time I went to bed it was 2:30 am--which was dumb since I had class at 10 am the next day...though I would do it all again because what are you going to remember more: a random class or a fun night with friends?




Friday
September 27, 2019

As expected, I was super tired in my lecture. I was actually doing pretty well when I woke up but when we had to actually sit down and listen to the lecture and just take notes I was almost falling asleep. It was an interesting class--Gothic Literature--but I'm still a bit apprehensive about reading an entire classic each week.

Afterwards, I went back and got lunch before taking a short nap. Then, predictably, I watched Netflix for a bit before going to Londis again with some other flatmates. That night, we just chilled for a bit in the kitchen before going to bed relatively early. I actually ended up reading some of a book for a bit so I was up later than I expected.



Saturday
September 28, 2019

This was probably the earliest I've woken up since getting here, but I was up at 7 am to prepare for an outing. I left around 8 am to meet our group and we walked to the tube station towards Waterloo. It was a super fun day as I was able to hang out with some of my study abroad friends and explore a new area.

We took a river cruise on the Thames and got to see some cool parts of London (sadly, I didn't see Spider-Man at Tower Bridge but it was still a nice view). We got off at Greenwich and took a walking tour of the village. I love exploring places on my own pace but I also really liked hearing the histories and little eccentricities of the different areas we saw. We then hiked to the top of the observatory which just about killed me with how steep it was (seriously, I think walking up the entirety of the Eiffel Tower was easier than this). The view was so worth it though and we got to hear about some cool facts relating to how time zones were established and whatnot.

After the tour ended a small group of us walked to a pub on the Thames where we had lunch. I got this really amazing mac and cheese that was to die for. We then walked back towards the Greenwich Market and explored that for a bit. It was really fun and such a cool place.

I bought some artisan stuff, including a feta spinach pastry that was so good, macarons that were so good and such a good price, and a canoli that was to die for. Of course, I also had amazing company and we took a bunch of pictures and had a lot of laughs.

Our way back was a bit complicated but it was all in good fun since we were together and in London. We were all super sleepy on the way back, though, and I'm surprised that I didn't fall asleep on the any of the three trains like I thought I was going to.

When I got back, I Skyped with my dad which was fun. Of course I'm having a blast here and I'm not feeling very homesick, but I also always miss my family in some capacity. After logging off there, I went to get dinner and ended up hanging out, again, with my flatmates until a bit after midnight. We actually ordered late night food and there's just something that slaps differently about pizza when it's late and you're falling asleep but in such a good mood.



Sunday
September 29, 2019

I allowed myself to sleep in which felt absolutely glorious. I mean, it wasn't that late sleeping in but I was able to wake up on my own time. I ate leftover pizza for breakfast just as a quick tide-me-over until Ben & Jerry's.

A small group of us met up to head over to find the Ben & Jerry's place at a mall. It took us an embarrassingly long time to actually find where it was in the mall as it ended up being a stand inside a cinema lobby. It was worth it as the ice cream was so good. I had three flavors I'd never tried before and they were just so yummy.

Afterwards, we wandered around the mall for a bit. I'm happy to report I went inside a bookstore and walked out without buying anything. We headed to a Nandos that was actually really close to campus. On our way there, we pulled up different maps of places to quiz each other on pronunciations--Wisconsin messed up a bunch of us though UK towns and cities are named weird things.

Nandos was super yummy--I tried the "extra extra hot sauce" and it wasn't that hot? I mean it wasn't mild but I was expecting more from it. I'm getting hungry just thinking about Nandos now. We headed back to the dorm after that and had some drinks for a while and played some more card games. Let me tell you, friendships are destroyed by Uno. We also tentatively planned out a trip to Paris and I'm so excited for that. Paris is one of the places on the top of my list to travel to and I really hope that a lot of us can go together.

I think something that is quickly becoming fun to debate is the pronunciation of different words. Like, they pronounce "aluminum" and "water" and "stop" differently than we do. One of my favorite things, though, is the swear words they have here. Swearing is actually really common and nobody even bats an eye so when I hear some of what is being said I'm laughing my ass off. I think a few of my favorites are: "you fucking wet wipe," "you absolute nonce," and "wanker." I also have a feeling I'm going to seriously have to watch my words when I get back from studying abroad because I already know I'm swearing more than back home.



This past week was amazing and the semester is just getting started. It's crazy because I have friends back home preparing for mid-terms and I've barely started classes, let alone started worrying about assignments and exams.

I also already have a bunch of amazing stuff planned coming up. Next week (I guess this week since I'm writing this after the fact?) I'm going to see a musical and then spending the weekend in Liverpool and Manchester. Then the next week I'm doing even more things. It's going to fly by which makes me really sad but I'm also so excited for everything that I'm going to be able to do.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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