Today marks one year since my first full day in London. It’s insane to think that an entire year could go by so quickly. I guess it is true when they say “time flies when you’re having fun” because this past year has been full of fun, new, challenging and exciting things for me. I thought I’d take this momentous time to reflect on my first week in London.
This was my first time ever going to Europe so it was the longest flight I had been on. This was also the first time I was ever flying by myself, and soon living by myself. The flight was as comfortable as a 7 hour flight could be whilst in coach (womp womp). I had a lot of time to think about things that I wanted to do once I settled down in London and just time to think about all that was going on in general. I was excited, scared, sad and just overwhelmed with so many emotions. I was constantly checking the little map on my screen that indicated where on our route we were and when the pilot announced that we were soon going to be landing in London, the butterflies kicked in and my palms began to sweat. I was really doing this and there was no turning back.
In London, i struggled a bit (a lot) to manage my two super large suitcases plus my back pack, a small duffle bag and my neck roll all the way across to the other side of the airport, which if you’ve ever been to Heathrow airport you’ll know is not small AT ALL. I met up with my KEI group and when our last member joined us, we were off to our housing!
We arrived at our dorm building and to me it was so cool because I’ve never lived in a dorm or outside of home. I commute to school, which everyone else on the program did not. They all lived in dorms at some point and either still did or were living off campus with other college students. This was all a completely new experience for me.
I got the keys to my flat and bedroom and was so glad to have my own private space. So I shared a flat/ apartment with 6 other girls in the program — other people shared flats with british students and/or other European exchange students — it just so happened that the flat I was placed in was an all American KEI girls’ flat. As long as I didn’t have to share a bathroom or bedroom with anyone I didn’t really care who I lived with. My accommodation was self-sustained. Meaning we had to buy and cook our own meals, get our own pots, pans, cutlery, bedding, etc. They provided us with the essentials, furniture, stove, and running water. We shared the kitchen and everything in it except we all had our own spaces in the refrigerators for our own food.
I took advantage of my bare room and went to the 99p store to get decorations for holidays like Halloween and Christmas. I also had a box of things I bought from Target and had shipped out to be waiting for me when I arrived so I would have nice bedding and fairy lights — we had periodic fire safety checks in our rooms and I got a couple notices about my lights a needing to remove them but of course I didn’t, everything was fine they never found out — ,hangers and a bathroom rug to make my room more homey. So the first couple of days were about settling in and making a strange place into my new home. I think I did a pretty good job at that and made the most of the little that I had. I also took this time, since I had about 2 weeks free before classes actually started, to explore my new city and check out the things I had all around me, including making new and some life-long friends.