I’ve been here for over a month. My day-to-day routine is relatively well-established, and I know my way around enough to leave google maps in my pocket (sometimes). I am living an ordinary life among the Londoners themselves, and patterns about the locals have emerged.
They don’t walk; they hustle.
London’s pace of life is FAST. I expected to encounter this when I visited New York but hadn’t thought about the atmosphere being the same here. Having walked (hustled) amidst the London crowd for a while now, I can confidently say that the metropolitan British would be utterly perplexed by the lovely Italian concept of passeggiata, whereby one strolls casually along the street in the evening to chat, watch people, and take a breather before dinner. I imagine a Londoner asking, “Yes, but where are they going? Why are they meandering so sluggishly?” Although I’m a fairly energetic person, I do sometimes become annoyed by the pressure to hustle here.
They frequent pubs; duh.
With a pub on every other corner (and a Starbucks or a Pret a Manger on the corners without pubs), London knows how to satisfy its thirst.
They speak a multitude of languages.
I’m just as likely to sit down on the bus next to a non-English speaker as I am to someone with a traditional British accent. It’s a welcome reminder that perhaps I’m not the only one who feels like a foreigner. Perhaps a defining aspect of this city is its “foreignness”—its multiculturalism. My class at City University is made up of students from Romania, Spain, the U.S., England, and elsewhere, and my instructors are Brazilian and Greek. It isn’t what I was expecting by enrolling at a British university, but I think it’s a unique experience nevertheless.
As I said, I have settled into a daily routine that is beginning to feel “normal.” I’m still exploring new pockets of the city all the time, but my classes are starting to demand more time devoted to studying. It’s a struggle in a city as full as London, as I feel like a little kid who just wants to go play outside. Fortunately, I also enjoy field trips on a regular basis, and you can peek at some of my recent adventures in the photos below. I traveled to Salisbury, Stonehenge, and Bath for a weekend and also spent a day at Warner Brothers Studios touring the sets of Harry Potter. Next up: Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of Mr. Shakespeare. In the meantime, I’m back to reading about British history, though I would rather go experience British present.
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<p>I am Jane from Janesville, Wisconsin. I study communications and French at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but I like to spend as much time as possible studying abroad. One day, you'll probably find me living in Paris. If you can't find me there, you must not have searched all the boulangeries.</p>