I’ve had an awesome day in London! While waiting for dad to drag himself over to my university, I spent the morning exploring the area around Connaught Hall and getting lost a couple of times – despite carrying a map. Later I enjoyed urban life by strolling down Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street – two of London’s main shopping streets, which are both within walking distance from Connaught Hall. Since dad was with me, I took the opportunity to buy a printer at Tottenham Court Road, which he helped me carry back to my room. There are probably tons of printing rooms at my university, but as a person who abuses printers, I am honestly too lazy to drag my little self to a printing room several times a day. Besides, buying a printer was definitely an investment. While the cheapest printer I could find in Norway was approximately £100, I now got a wireless all-in-one printer/scanner/copier for a mere £57! Who was the idiot who said London was expensive?! The ink itself was pricy though – £40 for a package of BLACK ink. Thats 2/3 the price of the printer! However, with the printer, the ink and the insurance, it all came down to a total of £117 – which is still cheap in comparison to what it would have been in Norway. I also bought a Vodaphone card, meaning that yes, I now have a UK phone number. (E-mailed everyone whom I think might care to know what it is). Having a British phone number makes me feel so included in British society! I tried topping the card up on the internet, but for some reason it didn’t work (maybe I’m not so included after all), so must see if I can find a local Sainsbury’s to buy a TopUp card. After shopping for my necessities and enjoying a mushroom soup and steak & kidney pie, dad had to find a particular art DVD for my mom. As a result, we ended up in the largest HMV shop in the country. (HMV=CD/DVD paradise). It is a dangerous place to be, especially for a student who hasn’t obtained her student card yet, and hence isn’t eligible for any potential student discounts. I admit I splurged some money on a Sex & The City DVD collection. Please let me have the joy!
At 7 pm I was to meet up with dad, Jacqui and Trevor for a tapas dinner near their apartment. However, I was determined to come down to the public hall dinner at 6 pm. Can’t risk everyone sitting downstairs making friends and forming social groups while I’m sitting alone in my room. A lot of people (especially people from UCL) aren’t moving in until the 27th, and I seem to be the only one in my corridor at the moment. Hence, mealtimes is the only way for me to make friends. At dinner I got to chat more with Bianca, the part Swedish girl I met at breakfast. She is also a UCL student, and when she asked me if we should go together to the International Students’ Orientation Programme, I was like “Totally!”. Everything automatically becomes so much easier when you are two – you don’t feel as if people stare at you quite as much. For tomorrow’s Wecome Reception at 5:30 pm I am also meeting up with a Czech UCL History of Art student whom I met through Facebook. Looking forward to making lots of new aquaintances tomorrow! (I am being so social and positive it scares me).
The tapas dinner with Jacqui and Trevor was lovely – a far cry from the not-so-tasty-but-edible hall food. When we had finished eating, they followed me to the tube station where I said my goodbyes to dad, whom I won’t be seeing until Christmas. I made him promise me we would celebrate Christmas in Norway, and after enthusiastically taking lots of photos of me about to enter the tube line with my Oyster card, we went our separate ways.
I am now sitting in my room – fresh and clean after trying out the public showers for the first time. It was really not bad at all – the showers were warm, clean and free of hair; quite unlike the student halls in Oslo where there are no hired cleaners, and the students are expected to clean the bathrooms themselves. The showers were also very private. I had these nightmares about me having to show myself naked to lots of strangers, but you change and shower in private cubicles which was a huge relief. I felt so revitalized after the shower – there is nothing like a good wash after a polluted day in London!
I think I can definitely get used to living in London once the initial homesickness is gone!