Apples and Pears

In England by Eller Student

It’s been almost two weeks now since i’ve arrived in London. The flight itself wasn’t too bad, went by rather quickly but being in business class helped. Made my way through customs and jumped on the Piccadilly line, half an hour later I was getting off at Gloucester Road, one of our local tube stops, and making my way to my new flat. First observation about London is it rains, a lot. Being from Portland, this kind of weather is all too familiar so it doesnt bother me much but it made for an interesting walk to the flat. We live in flat 17 which is on the fourth floor of our building. Theres only one way up and thats the steep and narrow stair case, not too bad when your hands are free, but quite a task with two forty pound bags. I managed and got settled in. The flat is relatively nice with 11 of us living in, it could pass for Real World London, though all the flatmates have meshed pretty well. We live in the neighborhood of South Kensington, which is a ridiculously nice area. It’s not unusual to see several Aston Martins/Lamborghinis on the walk to the tube station and flats rent for over a million pounds. This does generally mean the restaurants and shops around are also more expensive but it’s doable. There’s not a lot of food or major shops around us, the only local spot we’ve found that we visit on a regular basis is the Hereford Arms. Deemed our “local” by the flatmates and I, we visit there every day to watch the Euros, grab a pint and eat some dinner. It’s a nice place, two minutes away from the flat with reasonable prices. We’ve visited several pubs since we’ve been here and they’re all pretty similar but each has a different feel to it. Hereford’s a very comfortable place, friendly staff, good food and good local beer. Since we dont start our internships until this coming week, the first two weeks have been spent exploring the area, shopping and partaking in “tourist” activities. It’s been a fun way to get to know our new home. By far the highlights for me have been a trip to Arsenal’s stadium, Emirates, where i picked up the new kit and got to tour the grounds. Alex snapped a pic of me while we were there and it wound up on Arsenal’s website, which was pretty cool. Another highlight was the tour we went on with Brian Ridgers, one of our teachers here. He showed us the Globe theater and the surrounding area before bringing us to Borough market. The market was very similar to the Saturday Market in Portland but it had a much wider array of foods available. To give you an example Wes and Michael grabbed some Kangaroo burgers for lunch, which were oddly good. Looking back on my time so far, the first few days were kind of a blur. Jet lag took a toll on me so the beginning of my trip wasnt super fun but once i returned to normal i got to really enjoy London and am excited to spend the summer here. I start my internship tomorrow. I’m working for the London Sports Trust, which is this cool little organization that helps develop athletes and get scholarship for them so they can have an academic future as well as an athletic one. I went and checked out the office yesterday. I’ve got a pretty cool commute, get off at the BBC’s headquarters, walk by QPR’s stadium and to my work. Not a bad trip but i’m excited to get to work. A little nervous because i’m not entirely sure what i’ll be doing yet and it’s a whole new world as far as work environment goes. I do like the people of London more though. They’re much more reserved and friendly. They stand quietly on the tube and are always eager to help when asked, it’s kind of refreshing from some of the loud obnoxious americans i’ve encountered since i’ve been here. British culture is very laissez faire, in a good way. Everyone seems in a good mood or at least complacent and they have huge amounts of national pride, which has been a lot of fun to be a part of. Best part of the trip so far has probably been watching England play in the Euros at the pub, celebrating with the locals is an experience i wont soon forget. I’m excited to see what this coming week brings, hopefully work goes well, so far everything is really good.