Monday, September 17, 2012

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.

Classy at the Bluebird Cafe
I had such an amazing first week in London, and this weekend was a great follow-up. My flatmates and I went to a beautiful late lunch at the Bluebird Cafe in Chelsea. We shopped around in the posh borough, and that night we decided to go to a Steve Aoki show at a club relatively close to our residence. We couldn’t wait to see his performance, and then we learned he wouldn’t go on until 2:30 a.m. Thinking we could just be troopers, we waited it out, and then were bombarded by the intense mosh pit, which prompted us to leave immediately!
It's that river again!

I am on my second week of classes here in London, and I still have not figured out how intense this semester will be. During orientation, we were told that this would not be a free pass simply because we were in a foreign country, and in fact we would have to work harder because we would have to adapt to the teaching style of our new professors. I have yet to see a significant difference between my Elon professors and my London professors, which might not be fair to say since I have only attended a few classes thus far. Today, I went with my Traveling Through Time Along the Thames class to walk from London Bridge to the Blackfriars Bridge on a guided tour. I love that my teacher decided to take us out of the classroom and into a setting where we could sightsee around the city, but also learn the rich history behind it. Needless to say, I loved the tour and our informative guide. 
Bus line on London Bridge looking toward St. Paul's Cathedral

When I first saw my class schedule, I was furious because I did not have Friday free, meaning I wouldn’t be able to go off to Europe every weekend. However, I did take something positive out of it. Staying in London on the weekends means I get to truly experience the city by living in it, rather than frequenting it. I would never be able to wander off in the streets of London for an entire day. I would never take the time to find the corner coffee shops and obscure tours such as the Beatles walk because I would be too concerned with trying to see what else was out there. I would love to go into Europe to visit all of the fabulous cities and be the tourist I was born to be, but first I would like to become a resident of London, understanding the city from the inside out before I try to understand whatever else is out there. Every day, I try to go on a walk to some place or some street I’ve never been to just so I cover as much as possible. Even if I am able to find a hidden park bench or a new cafe, I consider it a success. Hopefully going on these little walks will provide me with a good perception of where I am in London. 
But I did manage to book Oktoberfest, and I’ll be leaving this Friday, arriving back here Sunday! I am beyond excited for the pretzels, beer and good company awaiting me in Germany. It will be interesting to be in a non-English-speaking country, and hopefully I don’t get too lost. I am definitely nervous about traveling and making sure everything is in order, so wish me luck on my endeavors! 

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