I’m back in London after 3 years of wildly amazing experiences, and I’m deliriously happy. It could be because I’ve hardly slept in the past 36 hours, but I remember this state of contentment from my previous stays. I arrived in London Heathrow at 7:30am. After a long wait at the customs line, I finally pushed all of my luggage out and was looking for my taxi driver. To avoid the hassle of public transportation with nearly 150 lbs worth of stuff, I decided to spend a little money and reserved a private taxi. These are not your typical London black cabs, but they are still certified by Transport for London. At a flat rate of £43, my taxi driver took over my bags the minute I saw him, loaded them up, and drove me through hectic morning traffic and dropped me off at the door of my apartment. Worth every pence!
We drove into the city from West London and went by my old neighborhood of South Kensington. It was surreal to see the stores where I shopped regularly, the pubs that we frequented, and being able to recognize all the major landmarks. I felt instantly at home. I know right away I had made the right choice coming here. This is the kind of familiarity I need after the intense experience of Peace Corps.
I’m living in the LSE Residence of Butlers Wharf, thought a bit far away from the campus compare to the rest, the neighborhood is absolutely charming, and the price is just right! How could you complain when you can walk less than 5 minutes and see Tower Bridge and no matter which direction you go, you are likely to end up by River Thames. I checked into my room and dropped my bags off. For the first time since 2005, I’m living in a dorm style housing. Though the Butlers Wharf is technically an apartment, the rooms are arranged like a dorm room with a single bed, a desk, closet and all the basics. Major spiffing up is absolutely in order to make this space my home.
Before unpacking, I had lunch in the neighborhood. London welcomed me with some rare sunshine. The brisk wind, sunshine, coffee and pasta made a delightful lunch. I’m excited to explore this neighborhood and call it my home for this next year. I met some of my flatmates today and they are all incredibly interesting. This place is mini UN. There are 6 of us and we come from: USA/Taiwan, Lithuania, Australia, China, Japan and Chile. I had a drink at one of the English pubs nearby with the Australian & the Lithuanian. Our amazing conversations about world politic, culture, and the like is just a small preview of what is to come with the rest of the LSE student body. I’m in for a treat! 24 hours ago, I was nervous and scared, but now, I’m 110% ready!