I’m On My Way

Detailing my first two days in London.

I’ve permanently temporarily (?) moved to London.

My trip started off with a two hour flight-delay and some ever-increasing worries about baggage weight which turned out to be entirely unfounded as both suitcases clocked in underweight and I could delightfully remove things from my backpack (which promptly broke) into my suitcases.

On the plane, I was determined to sleep (largely unsuccessful) so as to be fresh for the new day and avoid any and all jetlag.  As such, I turned on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and then Oceans 11.  I dozed off somewhere around Oceans 11 and woke up with just enough time to skim my favorite parts of Captain America: Civil War before landing at Heathrow.

I don’t know how I managed to forget that most of the UK (Europe?) doesn’t use AC.  But here we are, standing in line to Passport Control with 200 of my closest jetlagged friends, sweltering.  Luckily, Heathrow had WiFi (internet is more important than a lack of body odor, as indicated by Heathrow’s decisions).  I got to text everyone that I was here and check Facebook while I waited.  And on the plus side, by the time I finally got through, my bags were already out on the carousel.

From there, I walked about a mile (no really…) to the Underground where I got to use my handy dandy pre-purchased Oyster Card and hop on the Piccadilly Line to my stop.  It was at this point that I made my first English friend named Noel who gave me the lowdown on several neighborhoods, restaurants, and apps I needed to download in the hour it took to get to Russell Square.

I had been all concerned about getting off the tube due to the gap (Mind the Gap) and the stairs before the lift (because that makes PERFECT sense.)  Before it became an issue, it was a non-issue.  A guy getting off the tube at the same stop offered to help get my second suitcase off the train.  He then, without my asking, proceeded to carry my suitcase up the stairs and when he got to the top, he came back down to get the other one.  Drive-by kindness!

When getting off the tube, I ran into Serena who also happened to be carrying two suitcases.  She and I banded together to find our residence hall.

Garden Halls

Upon arrival, I received my bed linens (I swear to you, they were plastic,) and my key (high-tech swipey card.)  I was also told that, as our hall is still under construction, we’d be allowed to eat the catered/cafeteria food with the rest of the building for one week or until the kitchens are actually built.

Our rooms are missing bins (trash cans) because apparently they haven’t arrived yet.  I had to improvise, using my shopping bag from my first shopping excursion.  However, I refused to resign myself to the awful linens and made plans to go to Ikea the following day (Monday.)  I unpacked and went shopping for a few basic necessities (what residence hall doesn’t offer complimentary first rolls of toilet paper?)

I made friends with the two other people who have moved into my floor so far (only missing one final person,) Sarah-lou and Cherene, and we went to our complimentary dinner.

Afterwards, it was too early to sleep (ugh!) so Cherene and I decided to go for a walk.  We wandered over to Euston and took a right.  I just so happened to stumble across Kings Cross station.  I mean, I couldn’t NOT go in….so we wandered in.  I’ll have to go back when it’s less packed to get my own 9 3/4’s picture.

King’s Cross Station


Monday, I awoke to gibberjabber outside my window which apparently turns into an active construction site at precisely 7am.  I opened my blinds to approximately 100 neon-vested workers receiving a pep-talk/plan-of-action.  Yay.  Go team.

Courtyard at Garden Halls

Inspired (or tired…can’t remember which,) I dove out of bed and got ready to face the day.  (It might have looked like literally falling into clothes and stumbling out of the door…but no one needs to know that.)

After a hearty (and more inspired than dinner-prior) breakfast, I began my “You’re living in London now,” sequence.  I went to the post office to pick up my BRP (which you’re required to do within 10 days of arriving) which took an hour.  I stopped at the two banks I’m considering opening an account with to ask what that entailed (proof of student status and a freaking appointment which can be set up online but will be at least a week or two out. o.o).  I went by my university to order my student ID and finish registration (which they won’t let me do until I have a UK phone number…which I won’t get until I buy a phone…which I won’t do until I have a use-able bank account.)

I then came back to meet up with Cherene and the two of us decided to trek out to Ikea.  I say trek in that it was recommended we take the bus and see the city rather than simply taking the quickest route.  This is something that I now wholeheartedly recommend.  The experience of traveling around London on the upper deck of a double-decker bus for an hour and a half was thrilling.

I bought linens!  I did laundry!  It was delightful.  And at about 5:00pm on my second day in London, it started to drizzle.  It was a proper English welcome.

Now, my room is relatively finished.  All that’s left is to hang up my pictures.  Here are the requisite pictures.

Entry way behind door.
Decorative scarves and trinkets on my headboard.
My bed and the required picture of my red dot.
Foot of my bed which will only hold this stuff until the kitchens are done.
Desk, trinkets, and mementos. Also where the pictures will inevitably go up.
Cabinet of mysteries.
Okay, not so mysterious. Just my clothes.
View from the wall-sized window on the only wall not pictured so far.


Coming Up Next…

  • The epic search for a hairdryer continues.
  • Tottenham Court shopping.
  • Setting up an appointment with a bank to hopefully open a bank account.
  • Meeting Catherine (from GISHWHES) and journeying to the Harry Potter Studio Tour.
  • BFI London Film Festival.
  • I’ll need to get a phone at some point…

Author: alisonlcohn

Graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communications Advertising. Traveled a bit. Taught for two years. Administered aptitude tests for a while. Worked as a Training Associate for Guardian Mortgage and a Quiz Master for Geeks Who Drink. Obtained my Master's in Film, Television and Screen Media in London, England. Now working as a small-group travel coordinator. Nice to meet you!

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