I am THRILLED to say I have safely made it over the pond and successfully navigated through London on my first day! Though, I am hesitant to use the word successfully.
Leaving D/FW airport was a breeze, though our flight was delayed an hour. And going through customs and getting our luggage took a grand total of 10 minutes. Side note: This is already a success in comparison to my study abroad in Italy last summer when American Airlines lost my luggage for 32 hours and I was reluctant to pack a change of clothes in my carry-on.
I’ll skip over the boring part about waiting for the group and checking into the dorms. Needless to say, Rachael is my roomie for the trip. It feels like we are back to freshman year checking into McElvaney. Except, we are in London, even though it still hasn’t hit me.
I am shocked at how easy it was to find our way places our first day. And, we went to a loooooottt of places. Our first stop was to the phone store. This was a sight: approximately 20 droopy-eyed, yawning and slightly disheveled Americans came in like gangbusters ready to buy their European phones. Being the largest amount of people the phone store has ever had in at one time, the two agents were quick on their feet to document the historic moment. As one whipped out his iPhone and the other hustled to get his iPad, the two videoed and photographed the group to put on their Facebook page. I can only imagine what we looked like, because to me, it felt like Christmas morning as I was handed my brand new Sony Ericson phone.
Next stop: Primmark.
Spare yourself if you can. It was AWFUL, worse than Black Friday. As Rachael would say, “To put it lightly, it was like a zoo.” People were darting back and forth, running up the escalators, pulling shirts off the rack and throwing them with the towels. The salesclerks were rude (they probably hate being there as much as we do) and the natives just look at Americans like we are stupid. To make matters worse: it was stinky. My schnozzle did not enjoy the aroma. Never again will I shop there. Whatever I need, I’m sure I can find else where.
Then, the highlight of my day. After a delicious Italian dinner paid for by SMU (woohoo!) a group of us headed to the tube…unchaperoned. The tube is equivalent to the subway; so once you’ve taken it a few times, you know it like the back of your hand.
Well, we made it to the tube and determined which train to take without a problem.
As the train arrived and the doors opened, we rushed to board knowing that in less than one minute the doors would shut. As I stepped onto the tube, I looked back to see Rachael and my new friend Liz about to be chopped off by the closing door, which didn’t appear to be stopping even though something was clearly in the way. Luckily Liz and Rachael made it past the door, but Rachael’s Primmark bag was jammed halfway in the door…and the tube was rapidly moving along.
Because we are Americans, our group of seven burst into laughter. Tears stream down our faces as we watch Rachael collapse to the floor grabbing at the remnants of her paper bag. If I hadn’t used the restroom before we left dinner, then we would’ve had another problem on our hands (or should I say pants?). Earlier today, we learned that the tube was supposed to be silent, and native Londoners do not appreciate obnoxious Americans. Too bad we enjoy ourselves.
Naturally, it was a great bonding moment.
In an odd and unexpected way, today was great and I know tomorrow will be even better. I don’t want to give too much away, but tomorrow’s adventures include Speaker’s Corner and Westminster Abbey.
Until then, cheerio!