Flat Move-In

After getting off the bus in Bloomsbury, I was handed my luggage and struggled into the foyer of the Florida State University (FSU) Office building with the rest of the arrivals. We were ushered into a brief orientation where they gave us our schedules, a tote bag, a T-shirt, an Oyster card with £70 (to use for public transport, aka The Tube or the double decker red busses), and asked us to sign a form stating wether or not we got our passport stamped with the “student visitor” stamp. Well, this is when I panicked. My passport did not get stamped! They now have electronic tellers in many airports that just scan your passport and let you through, but because I’m a short term student I needed to have the stamp; so now I have 30 days to leave the country and come back in to get the stamp, or go to the U. S. Embassy. I assume I’ll just take a day trip to Paris soon. Might as well make the best of an unfortunate situation!

After the check-in, they said our flats would not be ready for a few hours, so some friends and I went to lunch and had some amazing Turkish food. I wasn’t very hungry from stress and being awake for so long (and it was only 2:00pm), so I ordered an appetizer: salmon skewers with sweet and sour sauce.

Once the flats were ready, it was a mad dash to get up the four flights of stairs in our building – which was built in the 1600’s – to see our roommates and get beds. I ended up in Flat 5 with 8 other people! I’m in one of the bedrooms with my great friend Nikki from Chapman. Of the 9 of us, 7 are my fellow majors from Chapman and two are from University of Pennsylvania. 4 girls and 5 guys. Suffice to say, it’s always a party around here! The flat has a great kitchen and living room, but the bathrooms are really small, especially the shower, which is 2ft x 2ft. Oh, well. My room has a beautiful window and lots of storage, so there’s enough room for my insane over-packing. I bought a few pillows, some string lights, and a floor mat to make the corner my own, and having polaroids from home of my family and friends really helps keep them close. I found a card hidden in my suitcase from my mom, along with an endless amount of food, mini stuffed animals, a deck of cards, and Cards Against Humanity! It was like my suitcase was a treasure chest. Thanks, Mom! I also brought a keychain my best friend, Lana, got for me from Paris as a 16th birthday present to attach to my flat key and student ID card. I’ve never used it for fear of ruining it, but I decided that was ridiculous and brought it back to Europe. It reminds me of her, which is comforting, and it’s beautiful! I’ve pictured it below along with my little corner and the front of the building. The first day was so hectic and I cried a few times from being homesick, overwhelmed and overtired (we’re talking way over 24hrs here), but I’m getting the hang of things now and feeling much better. More to come soon about my first few adventures!

The Flight: Pros and Cons

It could have been much worse, I’ll admit. Getting seated was the most stressful part because my carry-on didn’t fit under the seat, and my seat was way too low for someone who’s only 5’8”, which meant my knees were above my hips instead of at 90 degrees; it’s the #1 worst position for my sciatic nerve pain because the smaller the angle, the more pressure is put on my sacrum. I sit on it as it is! It’s a very frustrating and complicated healing process, having to sit on my problem. However, I have never encountered such sweet flight attendants in all my flying. British, they all seemed so eager to help; one immediately brought me a pillow so I could sit up higher, and about halfway through the flight another let me lay on my sacral ball on the floor in the middle of first class where there was room. During the flight I was very good about getting up and walking around in attempt to keep mobility and blood flow. Thanks to my great setup from my PT yesterday, I was able to manage pretty well and I’m not in a crazy amount of pain. 

They served drinks right away, and about two hours in we got dinner. I had the chicken pesto, but I’m not exactly sure what part of the chicken it was because it did not taste very good. But the cheesecake they brought did! That was a surprise. They also came around after dinner asking if people wanted tea or coffee, which is definitely a British thing. I chose tea, and got to drink it in a cute little mug while I watched Ratatouille

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It’s was very strange to me when they served breakfast towards the end, since it was 11:38pm my time. On my tray was Greek yogurt with granola, fruit, and this amazing croissant with a mysterious heavenly filling. I chose coffee this time, because it’s only going to be 9:30am when I get there and I’ll have a whole day ahead of me! We’ll see how long I last before I crack. 

I sat next to a very sweet older couple, Kit and Sue, who were flying home after visiting their kids in L.A. They were ecstatic to learn I was studying theatre and proceeded to tell me how great it is in London. They also told me I had a beautiful name. 

The flight path surprised me and I got to fly over some cool places despite not being able to see them. Leaving SoCal, we flew over Vegas, Salt Lake City, Wyoming, North Dakota, Ontario, Greenland, the Atlantic, Ireland, and landed in London! The path was much more “upward” than I thought; we didn’t go near the East Coast. 

At the end of the flight, Sue asked a flight attendant if they would be bringing around “sweets”; two minutes later she returned with a little roll of “Love Hearts” for all of us, which resemble the ones we eat in America for Valentines Day. Another fun British thing I suppose! 

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Getting off the plane, I headed through customs and found a Rep from FSU to take me to the bus! I’m on it right now, ready to take in the sights of a new country for the next hour. I can’t wait to see my friends. London, here we come!

Goodbyes

I fly out today, and I’ve been feeling strange since yesterday; it’s like I’m half here and half there already. I went to my last Pilates class with my instructor, Brittany, because she’s moving at the end of January and I won’t be around to see her off! She has really been a ray of sunshine in my life and I’ve learned so much from observing her classes. It’s her fault I’m a Pilates junkie now. I also had to say goodbye to my lovely physical therapists and three of my closest friends: Lana, Greta, and Ruby. I’m dreading having to leave my family at the airport because I’m DEFINITELY going to cry. But everything is all packed up! Two suitcases and two carry-ons; obviously I’ve never heard of packing light. The foster kittens are devastated that the maze of stuff for them to play in is gone. I feel their pain about the other half of my closet I’m leaving behind. I guess we’ll both have to manage. 

Hi Friends!

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As most of you know, I’m studying abroad in London this semester! Many family members and friends are eager for updates, so this is where they will be. On this blog you’ll find written updates as well as photos of my adventure (and videos if I ever figure out how to upload them; the expectation should be low on that one). I’ll be abroad with my fellow BFA in Theatre Performance majors, taking four classes: London Theatre Tour, Stage Combat, Dialects and Styles: Comedy. There are 13 of us, so that should bring lots of luck.