When I came back up to the waning daylight, I was relieved to see that the bouncer who had waved me into the club was no longer manning the door. Whew, I thought. At least no one will know that I walked into the MPA social event, got spooked at the prospect of actually talking to people and walked straight back out. Cuz that would be embarrassing.
To be fair, it was quite (as they say around here) disorienting to be in a club at 6 pm, where the music was booming, the temperature steaming up and the air thick with alcohol-breath. The first-years, who’ve already been bonding at orientation events, were yelling their conversations over the subwoofer. I sidestepped my way through the crowd to get to the bar, realized that I really didn’t want to be in a club drinking at 6 pm—wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation with anyone anyway—and walked straight out.
I made it to the top of the stairs. Turned right towards the tube at the door. Before I even saw him walking in my direction, the bouncer asked me if I’d had trouble finding the party. As if to say, leaving so soon?
Ambling around aimlessly for a few hours today, I realized that the street maps of London are misleading because of my NYC-formed expectations. Everything is much closer than it appears; the streets are smaller and closer together. After meeting new friends at the London School of Economics, where I’ll be starting classes in two weeks, I followed the curving streets (and picked up a free ice cream along the way, to boot!) until sunlight glistening on a body of water caught my eye. The Thames!
I haven’t done much tourism yet, focusing first on getting settled in and recovering from the redeye + jetlag. I quite literally stumbled across the view above, and even more luckily, right as the sun was getting ready to set. The London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament basking in the golden glow! Double-decker buses go to and fro along the Waterloo Bridge—ah, it’s all so quintessentially London!
My favourite sight of the day—and there were many!—is this one:
You go, grandma! That thing above the net that looks like a smudge on the tree trunk? That’s her smash-hit ping pong ball in play. (In the Victoria Embankment Gardens.)
I’ve been in London less than 36 hours, and I’ve loved every minute. If the stereotype is that Americans are peppy in an artificial, plastic cheerleader way, let me set the record straight. This cheerleader is for real. I love this city! London has too much history for me to claim it was made for me, but I definitely think I am made for this city.
That said, I haven’t seen a drop of rain yet, so ask me again come winter whether I’ve changed my mind.