Month: September 2011

i think i’m becoming a londoner :)

I am in love with London. It truly is such a fabulous, diverse city that I have quickly fallen in love with. This past week has been such a whirlwind of adventures! We had the photo frenzy last saturday which was the last portion of our international orientation. We split up into groups in the morning and were given a camera, a day travel pass to use on all public transportation, and a list of clues to guide us to all the hot spots of London. My group consisted of 8 girls from germany, holland, england and italy:

….it was an awkward group. The girl beside me is Lucy, she is great. She’s from a little island off the coast of England. We got to see so many amazing places! We were in Trafalgar Square and I turn around and there was Big Ben. It was beyond surreal. Things you only see in pictures but are far more magnificent in real life. For obvious reasons. The architecture is unbelievable here. The buildings are so old and intricate and most of them are completely lined with gold embellishments.

The closest I’ll ever get to the queen…

Just an amazing day!

Starting on Monday was Fresher’s week. The university (they shorten it to “uni” here), puts on a week full of events for primarily the freshman.

Monday: The Bop – an on-campus night club held at the Union that plays dance and cheesy music. Being from Southlands College we had to dress up themed as “Back to School”…. Bradley, Tanita, myself…

Tuesday: Comedy Night!

Wednesday: The Grand – an old theatre that was renovated into a night club

Thursday: Indie Night at the Union

To come:

Friday night: Karaoke night at the Union

Saturday night: Fresher’s ball – silent disco, Ministry of Sound (DJ’s), and live performer Wagoner from the UK X-Factor

It  has been so much fun and beyond tiring! I’ve met so many new people from all over, internationals and locals, and found many that adore americans!

On Wednesday a few of us ventured into central London again to check things out for ourselves. We took the train in from Barnes to Waterloo and headed to Oxford street (London’s 5th ave.), and then to China Town. While we were in China town we ran into a commercial being filmed for British gas:

We then headed back to the London Eye and Big Ben to get a closer look!

We then made a pit stop at M&M world where their normal M&M’s are the peanut kind. They also have a fake M&M factory….

 

After M&M world we decided to take the “scenic route” to the Tate Modern. They scenic route consisted of the longest way possible and basically walking across the entire city….thank you Bradley. On a high note, because of the route we ran into the filming of a very popular British show called “Hustler”:

it was very cool.

Tonight we are off to karaoke! Classes start on Monday so that will  be nice to actually have some order again in my life but for now I’m just enjoying London 🙂

“One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it’s worth watching.”

love,

Erin

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Look right, look left, look left, look right

I’m in LONDON!!!! It’s simply fabulous. It has been such a whirlwind of a few days though. I guess this is only my third day here but it already feels like it’s been weeks! (good thing). I flew over with a friend of mine, Chloe, which was really nice considering my lack of experience with everything international. We arrived in London Wednesday morning around 10:30 London time, and 5:30 am Asheville time. Womp. We immediately met a few boys from Norway and quickly learned that the majority of international students here (175 total) are either from the states or Norway. After waiting in the airport we took a bus to campus and tried to get settled in to our flats. I met my flat rep (RA in the states), her name is Tanita and she’s from England. I live with three others as well: Kait from Cali, Adonas (sp?) from Greece, and Bradley from England (he moves in Sunday with all the other England students). They are fabulous! I have quickly realized how horrible I am picking up accents though. Adonas and I have the hardest time understanding each other, I speak too quickly and his accent combined with his broken english is impossible for me to understand. We smile and nod a lot and he often tells me to repeat and slow down. I’m working on it! My parents will be pleased that it’s not just them who can’t understand me either! haha

So the first day we were here Tanita took us to Asda, which is the British version of Walmart. Overwhelming! It was also our first time on the bus. Everyone travels by Oyster cards here which is just an electronic card you swipe on the bus and reload whenever you need to. We didn’t have those yet since it was our first day. Because of this we got thrown off the first bus because the driver didn’t want to deal with cash, and then got hard times by the other two drivers. After Asda we unpacked and headed to one of the on-campus bars for out first legal drinks! The university is made up of four smaller colleges, mine is Southlands (pictures to come), and each college has their own cafe/bar. The main bar is called The Union which is on Frobel which is definitely the prettiest campus…

Gorgeous right? So we headed to the bar… this is my flat mate Adonas and I having a local drink called Pimms. It’s like a lemonade/cider/beer mixture and quite yummy!

We called it a night around midnight here so I had been up for a total of about 35 hrs and was exhausted.

Day 2: This was the beginning of our official orientation, we woke up for a welcome session and skipped the next two about visas and things that didn’t pertain to us. The plan was to meet back for the campus tour but we somehow missed it and decided to venture our campus and the nearby towns for ourselves. It ended up being a mix of students from the states, holland, norway, russia and australia. Some fun we had…

We ended the night with an international student social of dinner and drinks and ended at The Union bar again. On our way back to the flat we ran into some friends and hung out outside until we were presented with the tempting offer of date cake…new to me but it was deliciousssss!

Day 3: Ok this was today and then I will be all caught up! We had a few info sessions today about different travel packages, cell phones, organizations and various things. We had the day to ourselves though so Chloe, her flat mate Jo (from Hungry) and I ventured to Wimbledon and Richmond park. Wimbledon was a fail since we didn’t have our student cards it would’ve been really expensive so I’ll just have to go back…

Then we walked to this nearby town called southfields…

 

We then took a bus to Richmond which is a cute town and has a park right on the Thames river. On the way we encountered our first time on a double-decker bus!

 

We found a beautiful park on our way to Richmond park full of flowers and cows!

 

 

It has been such a wonderful past few days! It is almost eleven here so I am going to head to bed. Be on the look out for a good post coming up! Tomorrow we are going on a “photo frenzy” of London!

I miss you all!

Cheers!

Erin.