A Month!

It’s been a month! Well, a weeeee bit longer than a month, but still. This feels both like a long and short length of time. This week marks the fifth week of class, which is the halfway point in the term. Also, it is the end of October, and I’d like to show you what’s already happening in London:

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CHRISTMAS. Christmas is happening. It is October 27th. It’s not even Halloween! Outrage aside, I am sort of excited about Christmas? Just to see how another country does it, I guess. It’s just throwing me off, not having Thanksgiving to judge time by. Is it just Christmas crazy all the time here? With no Thanksgiving to distract? I MISS YOU, THANKSGIVING.

So that’s in Covent Garden. There’s a big tree there too, but no lights on yet. All the central touristy areas are equally bedecked. I keep seeing commercials for Disneyland Paris’ Christmas, which starts November 10 or something. It’s all so weird! For a Jew, at least. Christmas Christmas Christmas.

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Day in Brighton

I’ve been in class for three weeks now, but my schedule is still pretty sparse. We have class three days a week, Monday-Wednesday, and then basically a four day weekend. We keep being told that we have a lot of outside reading to do, and we have a big list of books that might possibly be helpful to look through, but very little in the way of actual assigned readings. So it’s been difficult to motivate myself to actually do work. I’ve been making my way through some very basic science guides and so far I think I have a handle on things, and done a bit of reading, but I need things to break up the workload.

I thought the weather had made a permanent change to cooler, sweater temperatures. But last week started looking a bit nice, especially Thursday, so I decided to use a day to explore somewhere else. And as it was going to be pretty nice out, I decided to hop a train to Brighton.

The decision was somewhat last-minute, and I can’t say that I really did much research on what to do when I actually got to Brighton. Basically, I knew there was a Pier and the Royal Pavilion, an art museum, and the beach. Various shopping areas and places to eat. So, I’m not sure I really got all I could have out of a day trip to Brighton, but I did some things, so I’ll call it a success.

The train ticket was pretty cheap, so that was nice (and I’ve now got a student railcard thingy that takes like 1/3 off the price of train tickets, hooray!). Train travel is sort of confusing here. I’m used to there being a handful of stations. It was always Metro North leaves from Grand Central, LIRR and NJ Transit go from Penn. Then you’d have Atlantic Ave, Jamaica, and some other stations far out in Brooklyn or Queens you could also go to, but Grand Central and Penn are the main ones. There are SO MANY train stations in London. And I don’t really understand how, when you put in your origin and destination on the National Rail site, it decides what station you’re leaving from. I put in London–all stations, and it sent me from London Bridge, but there were also trains from Victoria. Maybe London Bridge was quicker? No idea. Basically, there are lots of train stations in London, some very close together (King’s Cross, Euston, and Marylebone are like all on the same street), and I don’t understand how that all works. And there are lots of trains! When I was waiting at London Bridge, I was on the platform early, by maybe 8 minutes. I think 3 trains pulled through the platform before mine did. So many trains.

I had a bagel from a little stand at the station. It was an “onion multi-seed”, which I guess is British for “everything” bagel, and let me tell you, it was DELIGHTFUL. Closest thing to a real bagel I’ve had, and I think it’s just a little bagel chain place. It might have just been the oniony flavor distracting from the sub-par substrate (ha, conservation lingo), but still. Enjoyable.

Anyway, Brighton!

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The Day to Day

Here is a post for all the people back home asking me what my flat looks like. Well, it’ll be a little more than that, but just basically the daily goings-on. I am also feeling mildly homesick today. I missed the wedding of a longtime family friend, and oddly, I’ve been watching a bit of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and that’s made me miss home. Which…I don’t really want to unpack what it means that that show makes me homesick, but there it is.

So! I am living in Stockwell, which is a little area in South London which…well, there’s not really a whole lot to say about Stockwell. It’s sort of one of those in between neighborhoods, I guess. Brixton’s the next one over, and there’s lots more going on there. That’s where I get my groceries and such. Clapham’s to another side, and it’s really cute over there, with a huge Common and lots of bars and restaurants. Stockwell’s just…sort of here. But it’s a perfectly fine place to live! We have two underground lines (Northern, Victoria), and plenty of buses–including one night bus and two 24 hour buses. And there’s sooooo many more that run through Brixton, which is such a short walk away, so I’m not really worried about transit ever. There are lots of estates here, which I always thought were roughly equivalent to housing projects, but I’m really not sure. By which I mean, the estates don’t seem…horrifying. I don’t really understand what they are.

There’s a park/garden area down the street that I just learned is there because that spot was bombed in 1944. So then they just tore the ruined buildings down and made it a park area. 10 or 11 people died. I know New York is full of history, but…not like that.

I am in student housing, which is a little weird, but fine. The building is brand new this year, which is nice, but I think there’s been some new building issues (silly things breaking, all that). Anyway, here is the flat!

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