London: Arriving, Living, and Thriving, or Reality is Unrealistic

There comes a time in every university student’s life when they should be working on that essay that’s due in only a matter of hours, and so they make themselves busy doing something else.  Usually, it involves cleaning their room—today, it involves writing something I should have done five weeks ago…

Actually, my distractions usually look something like this.

Actually, my distractions usually look something like this.

...or this.

…or this.

...and some times even this...

…and some times even this…


            There’s a reason why I haven’t been keeping up with these things, and I’d like to say that it’s a pretty reasonable one—I’ve led a pretty boring existence, really.  That’s not to say that London is boring, or that I haven’t done anything fun or exciting, but that I haven’t done much worth talking about.

Let’s run through it:

  • I haven’t left London
  • I generally stick to three or four locals (Kingston, Roehampton, and Central London, to name a few)
  • I haven’t had any terrible experiences
  • I haven’t had any surreal experiences
  • It isn’t that much different from what I’m used to

At least it doesn’t seem different.  Like I said in my first (and thus far only) post, I’ve cleared my mind of all preconceptions and have erased my pre-existing notion of what is normal and comfortable, so nothing feels out of place or difficult.

In a way it reminds me a bit of Portland in how my first experiences have paved the way for future ones.  Going to Portland for school, everyone I knew was telling me how difficult it is to drive in the Pearl District where my school was located.  But I’d never driven in Portland before, and the first time I did was in the Pearl, so the difficulty was lost on me, since I didn’t know that it was easier elsewhere (to this day, I can’t drive in downtown to save my life).  Yes, it was different from driving in Salem, but it wasn’t hard.

London feels the same way.  It only took me a couple days to get situated, two trips into Central to learn my way around, and now I just sort of…live here.  Every once in a while I’ll remember that I don’t live here, and that’s what’s confusing.

The other reason I haven’t been writing is also a simple and reasonable one:  The stereotype of the British being alcoholic sexual deviants is actually pretty true here.  My flat is rarely, if ever, sober, and we’re not called “Hoehampton” for nothing.  (I have developed a good spiel on the concept of dry campuses, but won’t get into that here—maybe on my own blog sometime, or else just talk to me in person.)  So that leaves out discussion on antics and drama, and what else is there to talk about?  Surely you don’t want to hear about the French Revolution and how much I still hate philosophy…

The UK's lack of dry campuses is glorious

Peace, love, and harmony between nations tastes like snakebites (aka, beer, cidre, blackcurrant, and if you’re so inclined, vodka)

Pictured:  Why I love Kingston (and the British)

Pictured: Why I love Kingston (and the British)

2 thoughts on “London: Arriving, Living, and Thriving, or Reality is Unrealistic

  1. Good to “see” you back on the blog. Roehampton is a comfortable campus and in many ways it has a “WOU” feel about it. When you have a chance and if funds allow, try to take some day trips outside of London–Bath, the Cotswolds, Winchester, etc. and perhaps even a weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland–before you leave. Those places and many others will give you a different kind of British experience. Also, I think your observations about drinking and sex among UK students might lend themselves well to using the DIVE technique described in the “while abroad” assignment section. Michele

  2. Oh, yeah, I’m loving it here! The cool thing is that, even though I haven’t really left London, I don’t feel like I’ve spent all my time in the city, and I think a lot of that is because of where Roehampton is located (and Richmond Park certainly helps). I would still like to get out more, though, but I so far haven’t had the motivation to spend the money necessary to make day trips. That being said, a friend and I are headed out to Bristol next week for a concert, and we might make a couple stops on the way. I would love to head up to Scotland, but I’m not sure my funds will allow me to, since I’m going to Germany for a week after classes end in December.

    As for the drinking and sex, it’s not something that I take any issue with–it simply makes things a little more difficult to blog about when pretty much everything comes back down to “I was drunk at the time.” There are a few of us at the flat who don’t go out to Bop, or Fez, or Grand, but it does seem that most everything revolves around alcohol; it just kind of makes it look like all we do here is get wasted and party a lot, and that’s not exactly the message I want to be sending, I guess. It does make things a lot more lively, though, that’s for sure!

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