"It feels like we're back in the States"

Kevin V Au
February 28, 2016

So I'm reaching the end of my second month in London and I'm about 2/3 of the way through my program (scary!). A few friends and I have started feeling like we're back in the U.S. We've gotten to know the city pretty well, developed our own routines, and became comfortable with the culture and people. Basically, it all feels normal now and it doesn't feel like we are in a new country. This didn't really come as a surprise and we were kind of expecting it. It's just a consequence of living in a new place for a while. So this week, I took some time to go around London and do some touristy stuff to remind myself that I am not back in the states. 

Primrose Hill (left) and Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park (right) are two really cool places to visit at the end of the day if you want to catch the sunset. 

311 steps later, I was at the top of the Monument, built to commemorate the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire. While it did cost a few pounds to enter, I found the view totally worth the price. 

I also recently started running with the London Midnight Runners. We run and do exercises along the Thames, passing several major landmarks like the Tower of London, London Eye, St. Pauls Cathedral, and Big Ben. Now, I get a pretty nice reminder that I'm in London every week when I pass by these iconic sites. Group picture by Tanya Raab.

Even though I've only been visiting Oxford once a week for class, I was feeling that same kind of comfort I talked about earlier. So this time, I used my break to visit the old Ashmolean Museum that now houses a collection showcasing the history of science. From left to right: a blackboard containing Einstein's original handwriting from his lecture at Oxford, an old diagram of facial nerves, a super fancy microscope, and an old chemsitry set. Yay science! 

You never have to travel far in London for artwork. From abstract metal art and social movement pieces at the Tate Modern to painted phonebooths and creatively decorated rubbish bins, the art in this city is prevalent and diverse. 

Half the fun of being a tourist is the food, and my taste buds had a pretty amazing journey this week. I had a delicious and flavorful Lebanese dish, the fattet lamb kibbeh. The seasoning on the lamb was perfect and the pomegranate seeds were a perfect complement. Afterwards, I satisfied my sweet tooth with a stacked salted caramel hot chocolate that was literally overflowing with chocolate and cream. 

It felt great going around and seeing some tourist sites with friends. It helped to remind me that even though there are some similarities between London and home, there are huge differences in history and culture. Now with a little over a month left in London, I feel like there's so much I still need to do and not enough time. 

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Kevin V Au

<p>I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. I am currently a Junior at the University of Rochester majoring in Psychology and planning to become a Physical Therapist. I love food, obstacle course racing, martial arts, drawing, and getting into philosophical discussions with my friends. I will be studying Health Practice and Policy in London and I&#39;m excited to share my experience abroad!</p>

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