So it’s only day 4, and I feel like I’ve been here for so much longer! My days have been pretty packed though, so it makes sense. Tomorrow is the first morning we don’t actually have to wake up early for some orientation or meeting or even have something scheduled. Our first fully free day!
Monday we had to be up at EIGHT in the morning for our Westminster study abroad orientation at the university. By the way, they call high school ‘college’ here and university is called ‘uni.’ That’s something I’ll have to get used to saying.. but there are a million other words I’ll have that problem with too. Anyways, so we woke up and took the tube up to the school where we had to sit for about two hours, listening to a super boring powerpoint that was filled with just about everything they already told us. But we got our Westminster student ID cards which was good. After the orientation finished up around 12:30ish, we headed back to our apartment to drop the folder off, then headed right back out! We went back up close to the school, to Oxford Circus, which is an area FULL of stores. Basically every store you can think of; Guess, Armani, TMobile, H&M, Forever 21, etc. etc. etc. We went into TopShop on Sunday which I forgot to mention in the last post, which is so so SO cute. And pretty inexpensive too! I am trying to be easy on the wallet since it hasn’t even been a week, but of course I couldn’t go in there and buy nothing. All I got though were two pairs of knee socks I can wear under my boots. I have developed a new obsession with that look. But back to Monday, we went to a couple cell phone/electronic stores because I had to figure things out with my sim card/phone .. which we have come to realize just won’t work and I’ll be purchasing a 10 pound go-phone, which is completely fine with me. After we gave up on the sim cards and were about to continue on from Oxford, we decide to just walk into H&M … bad idea. I end up getting a couple of cute things which I absolutely love, but did not want to spend the money. Oh well, live and learn? Not.
After we finally pulled ourselves out of H&M, we got back on the tube to visit Buckingham Palace! We got off at Green Park, which is a beautiful area to walk through to Buckingham Palace. It was so nice – almost hard to believe we are in the middle of a city with how gorgeous it is! Buckingham Palace is SO pretty too! And so big. SEVEN HUNDRED ROOMS in that place … and the Queen only goes in 12 of them. What? The guards weren’t there, but we later learned that they are only there when the Queen is in the place but she was in Oxford I think? We took a bunch of pictures and then decided to skip the tube and just walk home. The walk was so nice and pretty.
Today we had registration meetings to set our classes up, and luckily Heather and my meetings were only 30 minutes apart, so we woke up and headed out to the Education Abroad Office at 10. Her appointment was at 10:20, and this office is not an easy one to find.. Needless to say, we got there at 10:30. Apparently everyone was getting lost, so it wasn’t a problem. I got my classes and schedule all figured out and I’m pretty happy with the way it worked out! I have two classes Monday, two Tuesday, one Wednesday, and one Thursday. I’m also taking a theatre class where we get to visit different theatres and see shows. Couldn’t have found a better class for myself!
The meetings were quick, so we had the rest of the day to plan. We stopped in an electronic store so I could get the details on the cheap phone deals, then stopped back at our flat real quick so I could talk to my parents about the phone. After, we decided to go to Abbey Road. Heather is sickly obsessed with The Beatles, which is fine by me because I love them too! But she has about 100 different places we need to visit that The Beatles have either been to, recorded at, lived, etc. etc. We got on the tube and rode it for about 30 minutes way, WAY out to a stop where we got off and were planning to walk to Abbey Road. When we arrived, we had NO idea where we were and had to ask someone. They felt so bad for having to tell us that we went to the WRONG Abbey Road, and the actual Beatles Abbey Road was only about a 10 minutes ride away from our flat. Apparently that happens all the time, but we were so mad cause we KNEW it was the other stop because we had planned it earlier! Stupid Americans. We turned around and got right back on the tube to the correct stop and finally made it to the real Abbey Road. Heather was almost too excited to breathe. It was so cool to be there though. Couldn’t believe that I was actually in the place that so much took place. After walking across the street about 45 times taking pictures, we signed the wall in front of Abbey Road Studios and took some more pictures. There is a website (abbeyroad.com/crossing) that has a camera on the crosswalk 24/7. Heather’s mom (also Beatles obsessed) was watching the camera as we were there and actually got pictures of us on the camera! It was so so cool. We took about 353 more pictures and then headed back to the tube to meet our group for Tea Time at Harrods. For those of you who don’t know, Harrods is a famous store that literally sells EVERYTHING. It is 5 stories and has things from clothes to cars to toys to pets. The clothes are ALL designer and I don’t think I saw something cheaper than 100 pounds. There were dresses that were marked 75% off at 850 pounds. It was SO crazy. They sell little tiny ‘purse puppies’ too, ranging from 1500-2500 pounds. The pups were SO SO CUTE though! They were little yorkies and daschunds and I just wanted to die. Anyways, Tea Time was so fun! It was served in a restaurant, and we were given unlimited tea and a tray full of little sandwiches, scones, and desserts. It was all so good and the tea was great too! I’ve definitely been reaching out of my comfort zone when it comes to food, but it hasn’t been a bad experience. At Tea Time I ate a little lobster sandwich (at least I think that’s what it was? I didn’t ask questions so that I wouldn’t be turned away from just eating it). After we finished up at the restaurant, we explored around Harrods for a couple hours ( and still didn’t hit all of the stores ) and then headed home after dark. We were sooo tired from walking and moving all day, but I feel like we’ve done so much in the few days we’ve been out exploring which is great. I love being out and about here. It’s so much fun!
I’ve only been here for four days, and I’ve already fallen more in love with this place than I though I would. The buildings here are not high at all, are all very very old architecture and brick, and it feels like you are living in a little town when you stroll through the parks or even the roads around my flat. It makes the city feel so much smaller and almost personal than something with skyscrapers and nothing but traffic and movement. It’s so calm and quiet here but can also be so upbeat and busy. It’s amazing. I just love it here so much already.