It finally feels like I’m really here. It got real, real fast. Yesterday, was our first full day here—crazy because I feel like I’ve been here much longer—so the morning was spent getting acquainted with the staff, campus and essentials of living in London (grocery shopping, the Underground, etc.). But afterwards we went on a “bus” tour of London. I say “bus” tour because after our first stop, all of central London was barricaded by the taxi demonstration. They basically all drove into the center of the city and parked their cars in the streets for 4+ hours to protest the amount of illegal taxis in London.
The rest of the afternoon we toured Westminster Abbey, the Buckingham Palace, and just walking down streets. Westminster Abbey was amazing, especially Poet’s Corner. We were really lucky in that part of Westminster’s Abbey, which is hardly ever open, was open so we were allowed to walk through where the queen normally sits while the boys choir sings to her. It was absolutely beautiful and my poor iphone simply could not capture how amazing it was. Buckingham Palace is also beautiful! The Queen was inside, as indicated by the flag on top. And we walked all through the royal gardens on the sunny day we were blessed with.
Today, on the other hand, was more about school. Our classes officially began today. First, I had my culture class where we are doing an experimental learning called City as Text (CAT) where we explore the city and take fieldnotes. Then, later on we synthesize our notes alongside the texts we read that correlate with our CAT assignment. Before class we were assigned to walk through unfamiliar streets in London and take fieldnotes about them. My second class is a literature class where discussed famous texts written by philosophers, scientists, and physicists. Both classes are a challenge, but the professors are great and it really pushed us to fully experience the cities we are traveling in.
For our second CAT, which we will discuss tomorrow in the culture class, we had to take the underground to a market (I went to Covent Garden) and walk around but then take above-ground transportation back to the flats. It was quite the experience that included the tube, shopping, and walking through parks while getting lost on the way back.