I am squeezing in the time to whip up this post before the rest of the week jams up with craziness from class induction. It includes collaborating with three other students from a country other than our own to create an extreme fashion design based off of our respective countries that will be walked down a runway and judged by the rest of our peers (think materials such as paper, trash bags anything cheap you can find really). It's like getting to play with your food but better.
This is a mammoth of a post, be forewarned. I am now all moved in and situated in my very own flat in East London, in a borough named Islington. I can tell you I'm most definitely not in Kansas anymore! London is such a vibrant city full of life and quirks and surprises around every street corner.
It's been a magnificent and overwhelming week adjusting to this beautiful city and all that comes with it. I was so blessed to be able to have my sweet Mom accompany me on the starting leg of this amazing adventure and we had a right old time exploring and living like locals together!
Our flight finally pulled into London at the bright and early time of 6 o'clock in the morning and were greeted by our surly (young) cab driver. He must not have been a morning person either because he hardly spoke five words to us and then proceeded to drop us off in the middle of Camden Town and went on his merry way! Note: I suppose one way to learn your way around the city quickly is to be dropped off twenty minutes away from your intended destination. All that aside, Mom and I navigated the bus for the first time like a pair of old pros and made it to my flat building in no time and I was able to set up camp lickety-split.
Overrun with confidence we set out to find Mom's flat that she would be staying in for the week. Little did we know how directionally challenged we would be without working mobile phones to help us navigate the treacherous streets of London. We spent thirty minutes taking the "scenic route" only to discover the flat was, quite humorously, right across the street from my own building.
The first day and a half really consisted of exceedingly fun activities like heckling bank tellers to help me set up a bank account as quickly as possible, getting my own UK mobile number set up, and deciding wether or not to buy UK peanut butter or go hunting for my, no fail US JIF peanut butter (I was successful and now have my JIF safely stored in my cabinet in my room).
The rest of moving in consisted of highs and lows- such as learning to travel on the Underground (or the Tube as the Brits like to call it), and running around Regents Street breathing on the windows of stores I could never afford, like the Burberry Flagship and Liberty of London.
We were later joined by my Uncle Jacob who I unexpectedly ran into on the street after we had been waiting a few hours for his arrival- afraid he was lost in the streets of London (we later learned it was due to a flight delay). He delighted us to an early morning exploration along the Thames River and a tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and even though he is not one of my favorite authors, the history and magnificence that is the Globe is captivating; and hey, they even had a piece on all the costumes of the period so my designer's heart was more than happy!
Speaking of fashion, we made a stop to the Victoria & Albert Museum which is truly something else. We circled around an exhibit based on the transformation of fashions throughout history (which has always been a favorite of mine!). Then spent some time exploring a jewelry exposition that had pieces dating back to 700BC and beyond, completely mind blowing. After ignoring our stomach growls and aching feet for far too long we strolled out to the courtyard and sat ourselves down to enjoy people watching, the beautiful overcast sky, and a darn good scone with jam.
Markets were another agenda on the list, we briefly made it to three: Camden, Borough, and Columbia Road Flower Markets. Two hustling and bustling with the days commuters popping in for a quick lunch and morning florists off to get their flowers for the week. At Camden we happened to arrive right when it was opening so strolling along the canal minus the crowds was an unusual plus.
Later on Sunday, Mom and I made our way over to Kensington Gardens to try our hand at the traditional Afternoon Tea. Arriving about an hour ahead of schedule we made time to gallivant around the park and explore the goose-lined shore's of Round Lake. It's a moment like this where I realize how much I already love this city. To be able to escape into a massive haven right in the middle of a busting metropolis is unparalleled. Meandering our way over to the Orangery (did I mention the Tea Room is located in Prince Harry's house? *Harry I'm definitely single*) and were served some of the finest tea and sugar I've ever consumed, as well as a handful of delicious scones and pastries and savory sandwiches.
Though this fun week with Mom has ended (and she's moved on to the greener pastures of Paris-thanks for taking me [I wish!].), and the real work is starting now, I can't be more thankful for the blessing of getting to have my Mom help me move across the ocean. Although she might not be able to help me track down and kill gargantuan bugs that fly through my window (that's a whole other story), she will always be there to give me the love and support she has shown for me throughout my life.