My study abroad adventure begins already!
I arrived at Ecole Polytechnique yesterday after a whirlwind tour of London. I am super lucky to have a friend that lives there and took some time off to show me around for a few days, so on the bright side I didn’t get lost (unless you count that time we went a stop too far on the tube because we got distracted).
I saw all of the classics – Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Thames, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Natural History Museum, and many a pretty green park. These are the names I can drop to look cool in a crowd of Americans. Although for Europeans, I’m just another one of those tourists. To be fair, I thought it was totally worth it. I got to scheme how I could climb Tower Bridge without getting arrested as well as see a guard wearing a bowler hat at Buckingham Palace (I know the picture* is fuzzy, but again I wanted to avoid the whole getting-arrested-in-a-foreign-country thing).
In addition, I got to experience some more unique things such as climbing in a gym, eating (more like destroying) gelato at the best Italian gelateria in London as well as authentic Belgian chocolate, drinking cocktails in a sky-high bar in London (52nd floor of an all-glass building–the panoramic view of London at night was incredible) and watching an eight-year-old blonde kid speed by me in a park riding a three-wheeled recumbent bike and then promptly running into a fence.
I also fondly remember the London natives that caught my attention. There was a little girl sitting in the park eating lunch with her mom squeezing peanut butter out of a tube, and suddenly she exclaims, “I do love peanut butter! Especially with lettuce. Peanut butter and lettuce – it’s so delicious!” But it was more like: “Oi doo love pay-nut butt-ah! Especially with lett-us. …so-oh delicious!” In the same park, ironically, there were two guys talking and as they parted, one of them said, “‘Twould be a treat to see you again”. Can’t say I’ve ever heard that as a closing before. Especially one grown man to another.
On the bright side (well sort of – the sun isn’t really a thing in London), I only got rained on once. Wearing heels. But hey, it’s Britain, what did I expect?
*Picture was added later since I had to wait until my phone successfully connected to wifi, which I thought would be never considering my experience at Caltech but I was proven wrong.