London – What Life Has To Offer

Carolyn Allen is a student at Florida State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Carolyn is currently studying abroad in London on an ISA Summer 2 Program.

I have been in London a week now, and I must say, I am officially hooked. What an incredible city! I feel as though the world is at my fingertips.

On our second day, we did a double decker bus tour of the city. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and quite witty. She obviously adored this city, and said a quote that I jotted down because I liked it so much. “When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. For London has what life has to offer.” One week in, and I completely agree.

Updates on my expectations thus far:

1) Geography.

In just a short week, I have mastered the tube! It is such a simple form of transportation and all of the stations are really well marked. I am even comfortable riding by myself (during the day that is). I feel like such a city girl! I haven’t driven a car in a week, and I absolutely love it.

2) Food.

So the food has been interesting…One week in and I have had only one memorable meal, and it was Japanese. I posted a picture of it on my Facebook wall and someone commented, “So you went to London to get Asian food??”  Not really, but that is the beauty of this city! The cuisines of the world are at your fingertips. Other than the Asian food, I have eaten a lot of mediocre sandwiches. Everyone eats sandwiches over here! I guess because of the convenience, you can eat them on the go or “takeaway” as they call it. I am still determined though to discover London’s hidden food scene. The search continues!

3) Fashion.

The fashion is definitely what I anticipated it being. Most people stick to black and neutrals. Something I find interesting though, I suppose because London is such an international city, there is not one dominating “look” or “style.” I don’t even think I could name one trend that I’ve noticed, other than maybe everyone wears closed toed shoes (and I absolutely see why. Who likes wet feet??) It’s evident that people find a sense of freedom in fashion. They don’t feel the need to match perfectly, or to prescribe to a certain look. Yesterday I noticed a girl on the tube who had orange and yellow striped fingernails, blue-tipped hair, and hot pink lipstick, and she totally rocked it. That was her style. I may not be dying my hair blue anytime soon, but I am taking a lesson from the Londoners and trying out some new fashions that I may not have explored back home.

4) Weather.

It has rained literally every day. Unlike the Florida summer thunderstorms that I am used to, it does not thunder or lightning here. Instead, it’s more like a constant drizzle or even a mist. The temperature has been a nice change from the 100 degree weather I left back home, but I could do without all this rain.The sun has shone only one day since I got here, and it was only for a few hours in the early afternoon. Everyone says this is abnormal for the month of July. One of our tour guides told me today that it has rained 3 times more than the average rainfall in July. And we’re only 13 days in…

5) Tea.

Earlier this week a girlfriend and I went to afternoon tea, and let me say once and for all, that was by far one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had this entire trip. We were served teacakes and scones with clotted cream and jam, along with a small pot of tea for each of us. The cakes (which are not the American form of cake, but rather more like a toasted breakfast bread) were slightly sweet, airy on the inside, with the perfect amount of crunch on the outside. The scones were dense, yet creamy. And the tea was warm and flavorful- a delightful treat on a cold and rainy afternoon. I am pretty sure my southern roots will be adopting a new tradition.

Stay tuned for more updates along the way. :)

PS all photos were taken on my iPhone!

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