We haven’t even been in London for a week and it already feels like we’ve done so much! Most of it has involved shopping for groceries and apartment furnishings, but it’s given me a chance to start getting to know the city.
The first major shopping experience was buying groceries at Sainsbury’s. It was definitely smaller than Wegmans (or any U.S. supermarket, for that matter) but had the essentials and I got a week’s worth of food (for myself) for £8.74 ($14.23)!
I won’t go through the litany of stores we’ve shopped at this week, but I had an interesting experience at Argos. It’s a home store, and customers pick items out of a catalog and the employees bring them out. (I’m told this is like IKEA, but I’ve never been there!) Perhaps we went shopping at the wrong time, but the place was packed and many of the items we wanted were out of stock. If I had to describe the experience in one word, it would be “claustrophobic” as there were too many people rifling through the catalogues in a closely confined area. It further reinforced what I’ve noticed since day one: things in London are more compact than they are in the U.S.
On Thursday, we went on a walking tour of some London landmarks. We saw Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Soho (the safe part), and Trafalgar Square, among others. I was really impressed by the history in Trafalgar Square. Fun fact: the big column in the middle is called Nelson’s Column, named after Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Yesterday, we had academic orientation. It was strange to pick up my course syllabi before class even starts, but I’m excited about a lot of my courses. The key point the staff tried to convey during orientation was that London is not only a city a learn in, but also one to learn from. Just from perusing the syllabi, I’m already starting to see how coursework can be put into action both in London and back at home.
But enough about academics; classes don’t start till Monday. Tomorrow, the group is headed to a tour of Greenwich. But first, it’s time for roommate dinner on our terrace!
Cheerio for now!