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Katie: Homesickness

June 1, 2011

Wow it has been a whirlwind of two weeks! I feel like I am starting to get the hang of London…kind of. Though they speak English and there are a lot of things that are similar to life in the US, I feel lost here. Not the lost that requires directions, because to be honest, I am quite good with directions and finding my way. I feel lost in a different sense. To just go to class I have to think twice as hard to do normal, everyday activities. I have to make sure I look right and then left before crossing the street. I am constantly having to flip over the coins in my hand to read whether it is a five pence or ten pence or twenty pence. In the US we walk on the right side, just like we drive. In London, they drive on the left side, so it would only make sense that you would also walk on the left side. Not true. London is a city full of confused people that don’t know what side to walk on, so everyone just walks on both sides pushing and running into one another, without even a mutter of an apology. 

Now, I’m not trying to dis on London, it is a great and wonderful city, full of life, color, and it is different. I think that last word is what describes these last two weeks perfectly. It is not that the US is better in any way or that I hate what I have experienced so far in this new city. It is simply just different. And the difference and sudden change is just jarring and confusing and difficult. This week was the week of homesickness. I feel the distance that is separating me from home, from what I know and what comes easy. It seems like a lot of people were hit with homesickness this weekend. How did we comfort ourselves you ask? We went to an American diner 🙂 Filling up with a cheeseburger, fries, onion rings, and a milk shake. It left us satisfied and gave us a little piece of home to carry with us as we begin our week. Today was a bank holiday in London and Memorial day in the US so I guess you can say we “grilled out” for the Memorial Day weekend and celebrated by eating American food. 

The “vacation” feel of the trip has worn off, and I am now into homework and working 20 hours a week at my internship at Aftershock London. I am excited to learn through these opportunities as well. I think there is only so much you can learn by going on tours, I look forward to learning through the people I interact with at my internship in addition to exploring the city. 

This week we ventured out to Stonehenge and Bath. Stonehenge being the big rocks in the middle of nowhere. And Bath being the home of Jane Austen and the ancient Roman bath made from the natural hot springs located underneath the city. The trip into the countryside of London was definitely a breath of fresh air (literally). It was nice to have space to have a personal bubble again, not to mention get away from the smog and exhaust fumes of the city. (don’t read this if you are easily grossed out and don’t say I didn’t warn you—my snot has been black from all of the smog and pollution in the air ever since I got here.). The country was nice and it was fun to see the city that was inspiration to Jane Austen and then getting to watch Pride & Prejudice on the 2 hr bus ride home. 

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I was told that Stonehenge is not that exciting so I was preparing myself to be disappointed. I was surprised to actually enjoy Stonehenge a lot. We also made our own fun, taking pictures and trying to make it look like we were pushing down one of the rocks.

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 Friday evening we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a party. The museum was focusing on fashion designer Yohgi Yamamoto and we got to explore and partake in special events and activities focused around his art.

I got caught in my first thunderstorm so far in London. My shoes and the ankles of my jeans were soaked. I bought a cheap sweatshirt to keep warm and decided to keep exploring Leicester Square since I was already wet and didn’t feel like going back to my flat and wasting the rest of the day inside.

We also made a trip to the London Eye. Going at sunset was a great choice.

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We were able to have enough light to take amazing pictures and then when we were done, we got to see Big Ben at night.

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