previously posted on my blog Abroad in London
as a weekly update for family and friends
It’s been a week now since I arrived. I thought about that as I boarded the tube this morning – the trip down to the Royal Exchange is already a routine. Last Tuesday I landed in this amazing city for the first time. It was an experience to be remembered as I struggled to get from Heathrow to Russell Square. Since then I’ve had more interaction with the city than I could write about and it’s slowly become familiar and home.
Of course it’ll take months yet for me to know my way around the city. But with a map and the tube nothing is out of reach. Everything is possible and I’m no longer intimidated by the hustle and bustle of the tube. Only a week later and I’m comfortable shoving myself into a crammed, without air conditioning, tube car, fighting alongside my fellow
workers. I’m comfortable strolling about the twisting and winding streets of London (very similar in their confusing layout to Boston). I’m becoming familiar with the accents, understanding conversations in full instead of in pieces, and the lingo is starting to settle. Yes I’ve started calling an elevator the “lift” and while Americans pronounce the letter Z as “zee” I’ve started saying “zed”. It’s safe to say that I’m becoming Britainized.
The Bus tour I took last week has given me a general layout of the city. I know where I live in relation to the city. I know where I work in relation to the city. And I know the connection of the boroughs and somewhat the streets.
I surprised myself last Saturday. The flatmates and I went to visit Trafalgar Square where the Tour de France time trials were going on. It was a big to do with millions of people flocking to the center of London to watch the bicyclists. The streets were crowded and one could barely glance over the heads of the spectators to see the bicyclists and cars wiz by at crazy speeds. From Trafalgar Square we were invited to meet friends in Hyde Park.
The normally short walk between the two areas was crazy with activity and detours as we parted out way through the crowds and to the grassy green knoll through which the Tour de France looped.
Along the way I started recognizing landmarks from my bus and walking tours. Suddenly the route between Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park was clear in my mind! It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment that I felt when we finally reached Hyde Park. Of course we didn’t quite locate our friends but we got to view the race, the spectators and
the spectacle up close and that was good enough for me.