London greeted me with a torrential downpour.
I’m not certain why I expected anything else, but as I stood under an overhang at Waterloo Station trying to remember where I packed my umbrella, I wasn’t the slightest bit upset. I have always dreamed of living in London, rain included, for as long as I can remember and my first few days here have far surpassed my expectations.
Determined to beat jet lag, I set out to get the essentials such as groceries, toiletries, and a SIM card. Keep in mind that when I arrived Belgrade, Serbia, it took me a few weeks to settle in. In London, though, I completed the tasks that took me so long and were so convoluted in Belgrade within a matter of hours. Working out my cell phone situation took about six days in Serbia and even then, the app that allowed you to buy your data and whatnot was only available in Serbian which made having a phone in Belgrade a constant struggle.
Post-productivity, I took a walk to get a feel for the area and was pleasantly surprised (and also not surprised in the slightest) to find myself completely comfortable. London feels wonderfully safe, like everyone is looking out for one another, and is much cleaner than I was led to believe-- though as a New York native, just about everywhere seems pristine. With major monuments such as Westminster or Big Ben in view of my building and the river Thames just footsteps away, my tiredness vanished, replaced with excitement for the semester to come.
I also found that London also makes for fantastic people watching. With its massively diverse population, penchant for the arts, and jovial pub culture, this city is a writer’s dream. Its brick and mortar, too, add to the charm as classic architecture mixes seamlessly with the more contemporary. As a lover of literature, I could not be more excited to immerse myself into what London has to offer, both in terms of history (Shakespeare!!) and current works.
Most people seem to have a recommendation for something to do or see in London, if not a wish list of their own, and I can’t wait to start working through mine. I was also lucky enough to receive advice from friends who have lived in the city and feel it important to end this post with one tip that has already proved exceedingly true: pack and wear layers. London can go from perfectly warm and sunny one minute to a rainy November day the next. While somewhat inconvenient, I can’t help but enjoy the few hours-long fall days London keeps sending me.