In The Realm of King Henry VIII…Oh Wait…


Market Square in the city of Lancaster

With a noticeable lack of a proper power converter, I’m reduced to typing this out quickly before my battery dies. BUT, I have hope that with arrival at Lancaster, I shall purchase another one…the one from my hostel has thus far failed me miserably.

But, enough about that. I’ve made it to England in one piece—well, actually 4 if you count my luggage and carry-ons. Surprisingly, or maybe not so, my flights from Chicago to Dulles in Washington D.C. and then to London went off without a hitch. Even better, my London flight came in an hour early. My friend Megan, who is in London as an intern, met me at the Heathrow Airport, and we took a $30 cab ride to the city of Westminster. All I know is, little sleep does wonders…

The next couple of days were busybusybusy. Whilst Megan and the rest of her flatmates went about their internships, I decided to explore the British Museum. To be honest, it was not as impressive as I imagined. But, the mummies, the remnants of the Mausoleus tomb at Halicarnassus (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), and much of the old Greek sculptures were worth seeing. The Rosetta Stone, the Sutton Hoo helmet, and other things were interesting as well.

Yesterday,  Megan and I gallivanted (my new favorite word lately) through London, hitting most of the main sites: Westminster, Parliament, The Globe Theatre, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Milennium Bridge, South Bank, and many other places…

Fast forward a couple of days…*~*~*~*~*

So, in light of buying two power converters (!), I am able to finish this post that is slightly overdue.

Anywho…

Lancaster is fantastic. I took the train from London to here a couple of days ago and arrived here in the midst of other freshers or first-years moving in. This brought back memories of my freshman move-in day back in the States in 2008 (this makes me feel old…). I remember the anticipation, the nervousness, the excitement of being on “my own” for the first time…well, in a sense at least. In any case, I loved watching the looks on the faces of the incoming students. I had to smile at one of my flatmates whose parents helped her move into her room at Cartmel College. There were the tearful goodbyes, the pictures with the flatmates, the pictures of the rooms. I felt like a young’un all over again, for all that I’m a third-year and turning 21 soon.

A quick note: colleges in the UK sense seem to be small communities consisting of many different buildings. For instance, my college is Cartmel College, and my building is Meathop (METH-op, not meat-hop). Our college has its own bar and common areas to hang out. We do our own socials and nights in town. This is similar to the dorms at many American universities.

To continue, my flatmates and I have hit it off really well. Almost immediately we began laughing. The singular best moment was when we decided to take our desk chairs and race them down the flat corridor…and then into the kitchen. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time, and I definitely felt a sense of relief. As an American in another country, one understands nerves and how I think people will view me. But, I haven’t encountered too much difficulties thus far.

And so the rest of orientation week begins: tonight we had silent disco where we had headphones and two DJSs played music and two different channels. It was much like a typical high school or college dance, but here the music was in our ears. It was something to hear over 100 freshers singing Lady GaGa in an otherwise silent room (even with all of the flashing lights). My international student orientation is tomorrow. This is somewhat ironic when you consider that I helped out with the Carroll international student orientation just a few weeks ago. Talk about a turn of events!

In short, my first couple of days here have gone a lot smoother than I could have hoped. I don’t know if it is so much a testament to me so much as a testament to the country itself. I have definitely learned a variety of cultural differences, and I am doing my best to learn those and incorporate them into my daily usage. I have tried my British and Irish accents on two of my British flatmates, and my Irish one is very good, according to them. So, for my American friends, if I come home with an Irish accent, you now know that it will sound near authentic. 🙂

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