Well, I’m here!
It’s been awhile! The last couple of weeks were insane trying to pull everything together, and then there was the actual getting here that was time consuming. But I’m here now, and today is my fourth day in the UK.
I’ve had some amazing experiences already. Nothing crazy, but I can honestly say I love it here so far. The city center is full of shops and places to eat, and there’s a carousel in the middle that lights up at night. Nearly every building looks like a castle and they’re gorgeous to look at. I’ve heard that the easiest way to spot a foreigner here is that they’re always looking up!
On the day I arrived, things were a bit stressful. I took a coach from the Heathrow airport to my accommodation, but even though the trip was only meant to be three hours, we left at 10 and I didn’t step foot in my room until around 4:30. Twenty minutes after getting my key card I locked myself out of my room, so that was pleasant. Still, despite being completely and utterly exhausted, I went out to meet some people from the postgraduate group chat. We had a lovely dinner and carried on conversation for four hours. Many of them were British, and I was one of just two Americans at the table.
On my second day, my American friend Marissa took me out shopping for essentials. My dorm looks awfully nice now! I love my room, and she made shopping so much less stressful. There is quite a bit of walking around here- she and I had taken more than 20k steps between just 8:30 and 12:30. We went out for dinner again with our previous group, and met a few new faces! Once again, we ended up there for four hours. All we had was one tiny table, so you can imagine what it looked like to have 13 adults sitting around it like a campfire and holding their plates and drinks in their laps.
The third day, yesterday, was a bit more relaxing. I went out on my own, got my BRP card and student ID card, and did some more shopping for things I needed. I came home, ordered food, called my mom and watched Squid Game for the evening. It was much needed, honestly. As much as I love the people I’ve met so far, I’m still an introvert at the end of the day!
Today was another ‘recovery day’, if you will. It’s only about 3 as I’m writing all this. I went shopping for some school supplies and stationery, and now I’m relaxing in bed until I call home at 4. This evening I’ll go out for dinner with some friends, and maybe go out to a club if I have the energy! We’ll have to see.
The hardest thing so far is my COVID worries. I’m fully vaccinated, but I know that doesn’t necessarily stop you from getting it, or spreading it- it simply means that if you do get it, your chances of becoming extremely ill are quite low. Every time I’m out, I get this rush of happiness to be out with so many kind people and having a wonderful time, but there’s this looming sense of dread that keeps creeping in to whisper “What if you get it? What if you spread it? What if you’re breathing it in right now and you don’t even know it?” The slightest hint of a sore throat nearly makes me panic.
Sorry for the anxiety rant there. Overall, I’m having an incredible time. These last four days have been so busy I feel like I’ve already been here for three weeks. I can’t wait for what lies ahead. It’s terrifying, but so exciting that I almost don’t mind.