I started this very long day off excited but nervous, this whole experience seemed to be above an beyond what was possible for me. The flight to Atlanta was easy because I slept most of the way. When I saw my group of fellow GLSers I was so excited to see some familiar faces and reconnect. Discussing the holidays, what we were most excited about and of course what we did or didn’t pack, we all got on to the plane and we separated.
Some of the GLSers were sitting near each other but I was in a window seat toward the middle of the plane. As I approached my row number this adorable older woman turns toward me and says in a thick Scottish accent, “I’m sorry dearie. I’ll get out of your way.”
This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Turns out she was from Scotland (obviously) but had traveled all over the world and was headed back home with her grandkids and their parents. Her accent was what really made me keep her talking but it was also just the fact that the flight was so long and the movies they played were so terrible.
We talked and talked and talked. Then we slept and read some, then talked some more. I just had a lovely time even though I’m sure that she was probably growing weary of this crazy Tennessee girl who just kept running her mouth asking questions, but she seemed to enjoy it at least somewhat.
When we landed in Gatwick, I started to get excited but I was exhausted. We gathered up our little group of GLSers and headed together to customs. We rather quickly ran into a little issue, but they let us all through. We picked up our bags and then headed down the terminal to the lovely girl with the horned-rimmed glasses holding a Florida State University sign.
We waited for our coach (bus) to take us into London proper and to the Study Center. It was so interested to see all the things that we so different about the homes of the Londoners versus the Americans and the similarities. The houses would often be the size of an American house but then the house would be divided right down the center with a whole different paint scheme and even roofing. Some houses were small, none really had any land and they were all crammed together.
The other thing that shocked me was the roads. One, the lack there of, there really weren’t that many roads and the roads that there were only had 2 or so lanes. Nothing like the 6 or 8 lane highways in the States. And all of the markings for the roads are totally different! There are these weird zigzags and not the mention the “driving on the left side of the road” thing, so confusing! I’m just really glad that I don’t have to drive here.
When we arrived at the Study Center we all went into the Peacock Room to get our room assignments and other important information. I quickly learned that I was in a flat that was very very high up. I walked up to my flat (22), just to check it out and to drop off my carry-on stuff, I finally reached the door after what felt like forever (probably only 6 flights or so of stairs) and fiddled with the door for a bit only the open it and find…. more stairs.
I’m sure you can imagine my reaction.
I quickly set my stuff down and set about trying to get my 2 very large bags up this monstrous staircase: one, without killing myself; and two, without an elevator (or a lift as they call them here). My arms are still killing me.
But we all unpacked our things rather slowly due to the chit chat and the fact we were exhausted. We then went out to lunch with Taylor’s mother and I had some chips (fries)!
Then I completely crashed… Was awoken by Lauren telling me that we had orientation in 30 minutes and panicked to get ready. Went to orientation with the normal awkward icebreakers and such but they had very good tea.
I still need to go out and get a few things together so that I can be fully settled and everything has it’s place. I’m just excited about making London my new home and am eager to get started by taking a very long slumber. 🙂