Today, I started readings for Week 5 of 10, which means I’m nearly halfway through the semester. Also, I just counted the days (not because I’m pining, but because I was preparing to write this post) and this coming Saturday will literally be the half-way point of my time in London (September to December).
After class (and entirely unrelated), new friends and I went to a burrito place in Shoreditch for dinner (future post coming soon). When we met up, everyone looked at each other like – ok where is this place/how do we get there? I whipped out my phone and bing-bang-boom identified the bus route, the right stops to get on and off, and estimated a 1 block-walk on each end. After dinner, they hopped back on the same bus line to head toward campus/home, and I rode a second new bus for the day straight to my flat.
In honor of the fact that a) I’m able to get around on my own like a normal person; b) I’m comfortably experimenting with new places/routines; c) every course focuses on comparing and contrasting; and, d) I’m halfway done with my first semester of grad school, I decided to make a list that compares home to home. (See what I did there? Two homes? It’s getting normal, folks).
Things that aren’t quite the same in London
“Skinny” at a coffee shop equates to “Skim,” but has no relation whatsoever to the syrup used to make your favorite drink.
- People smoke everywhere. If you don’t smoke, you find yourself sitting at a big empty table at pubs every now and again (yes, this has finally officially happened to me and Kansas).
There are pubs on campus, and people use them. In between classes. I’ve finally visited both of them, but after class. Maybe in between classes can be Another New Thing next semester.
- They tell you which direction to look when you’re crossing the street.
- At the grocery store, all the vegetables come pre-packaged. Today I bought pre-chopped Kale. Like it was cabbage ready for cole slaw. You’re not supposed to obliterate Kale, people.
- They have funny vocabulary (duh). Examples: Fancy Dress? Costumes. Sweets? Candy. Trousers? Pants. Pants? Underwear. (Yeah, that one apparently gets really confusing really quickly.) Swimming costumes? Swimsuits. Apparently, they are ok with the word costume in this instance, and when used to describe someone’s outfit in a musical.
- I haven’t actually met any British people. At all, with the exception of the people who work in my building, and the occasional bar tender – although even bar tenders are often not from the UK.
Things that make me glad I’m in London, regardless (and because of) the list above
- There is Cider. Everywhere.
- The buses are somehow easier to figure out than the buses in DC.
- It rarely rains all day long. Actually, it really hasn’t rained all that much. And when it’s sunny, it’s gorgeous.
- I don’t have to read the signs about where to look when I’m crossing the street anymore. Winning.
- In preparation for this week, I finished my standard 400 page compulsory reading list by Saturday. The week before, I read each night before class the following day. It feels great to actually have control of things.
- Lots of people use lots of xx’s after everything. Example: “talk soon xx”. It makes me feel so loved, all the time!
- They have an unlimited bus/tube pass. I literally used it recently to ride one stop with full grocery bags. I would never have broken my two-station rule in DC.
- As a student, sometimes I get up at really early times because I want to do things like yoga in my room, beat the crowd at the gym, or walk to a fancy grocery store .5 miles away. Sometimes, though, I just get to roll over and go back to sleep, or better yet, watch an hour of TV on my computer.
- I have met so many amazing people from all over the world. (cheesy, but a nice clean ending, right?)