I am tired. For the past few weeks, I have been holed up at a two-story Starbucks in central London prepping for my first exams at the LSE. This British system is difficult to adjust to. I have no idea how the exams are graded and thus my mood swings all day between “oh my goodness, I am going to fail” and “oh please, I got this”. Back and forth, back and forth.
This past week, I’ve been logging 12-hour long days at my beloved Starbucks. The baristas know me, and offer me free coffee when I look haggard. I walk in every morning and they welcome me with warm hellos. Becoming friends of baristas remind me of all the friends in my village and even in the provincial capital whom I bought things from: the veggie lady, the meat guy, the bar mamas, the tailor, the photocopier, the guys at the friperie where I buy clothes. They all knew me by name, and often know exactly what I want when I show up. That is the part of life in Cameroon that severely lacks in the modern world. I miss that even on the loneliest days, I can go buy some eggs and able to chat it up with my friends.
That is not so in London. There have been incidents where I realized I haven’t had any in-person conversations for days at a time. I am living in one of the greatest metropolis in the world, and surrounded by people everywhere, yet it can feel lonelier than a small village tucked away in the mountains of West Africa.
Two more weeks, and I will finally emerge from this academic purgatory, and will finally gain back my social life. With lots of studying also come with lots of bored moments where good ideas run wild. Looking forward to sharing them through this much neglected blog this summer!
4 thoughts on “Lonely Londontown?”
Best of luck! it’s great you’ve find yourself such a nice place to study and that people are nice with you there. You’ll see you’ll be able to socialize in the summer! hang in there!
Hey Wendy, found your blog by accident, and ended up reading good portions of it. I've lived in London before and am starting an MSc at LSE this autumn, after nearly a year in Tanzania. It's great reading your reflections on Cameroon, I can totally relate to your comment about being able to go out and everyone knows your name, shop for eggs and get stuck talking for ages. I'm already missing those things and worry how easy it is to get used to the impersonal ways of modern life.. Anyway, good luck with the final exams, I've got all of that still ahead of me!
Hi Nina! I am glad you know what I mean when I talk about the reverse culture shock. It's not easy. Best of luck with your year at LSE!
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