Day 5 in London
This was a sad, sad day.
I was uploading photos from my camera to my computer and bumped my camera off the couch. It fell. The lens bent. There were tears.
Luckily, as my mom says, “all things are replaceable.” And so I ordered a new lens. A new expensive lens. Yay for being a klutz.
To clear my head, I went for a run through Hyde Park. I guess I didn’t realize how big the park was before because as much as I tried not to get lost, I did.
I found myself running through zig-zagging paths, never really sure which side of the path I should be running on. I’m still confused about which side of the sidewalk to walk on here. People walk on both the left and right and there seems to be no correct direction. What a confusing place to be.
Anyways, I eventually found myself at a river that goes through the park. While it was kind of a dreary day, it was still very pretty. Birds were swimming in it and people were still out and about everywhere. I attempted to make my way back out of the park and passed a memorial to Princess Diana on the way out. There is always something more to discover in Hyde Park!
I quickly showered at the flat and then put on the nicest dress I brought with me then made my way back up to High Street and to the Royal Garden Hotel which is neighbors with, you guessed it, Prince William and Duchess Kate who tend to reside at Kensington Palace.
While I am not a tea drinker, the experience was still pretty cool. It was quite posh and all of us felt pretty out of place at the super fancy hotel. They served cute finger sandwiches that I heard were good, some little cakes, macaroons, tarts and such for dessert and lots of tea. I had apple juice. It was great!
During our time at tea, we also had to sign up for excursions offered through FIE at subsidized prices. The site crashed due to so much traffic to it, but luckily I am happy to say that I will be going to see The Lion King, Wicked and wait for it…HARRY POTTER WORLD! I cannot wait!
Day 6 in London
The first day of classes. Oh joy.
Really though, I’m one of those weird people that actually enjoys school and having class meant more structure to my days so I was actually pretty excited for school to begin!
I went in early to Foundation House to see about switching my Media in Britain class from one time to another. I currently have that class on a Friday, (there are only TWO classes offered on Fridays and I somehow was lucky enough to get it). No one else in my flat had a Friday class and therefore everyone was able to start booking weekend trips to other countries and I could not. So I would not be able to travel. More on that story to come.
My first class of the day was Infiltrating the Art World. Local artist Faisal Abdu’Allah came in to talk to us about his art. Abdu’Allah has also taught classes at UW-Madison and has had his artwork featured in the Chazen Museum. You can check out his work here. Abdu’Allah then took us on a field trip to the London Print Studio.
There, we met an artist who works there named John Phillips. He told us a lot about the history of art in London and the impact that the London Print Studio has had within the city and especially within its surrounding neighborhoods.
While the field trip was cool, what wasn’t cool was almost being late to my second class of the day. There was a tube strike on this day, so the tube wasn’t running and we had to take one of the double-decker city busses to get there. It was about a 30 minute drive plus there was traffic and a 15 minute walk back to Foundation House after we got off the bus. Not ideal. Luckily, I made it back with five minutes to spare. Thank goodness I’ve basically become an Olympic speed walker from my short time here in London.
My next class was British Life and Cultures and my professor was a cute old British man. He had a very sarcastic sense of humor and liked to joke with all of us, mainly at our own expenses. The class seems like it is going to be really interesting though and we are going to go on many field trips in the class as well.
So far, classes were good. On to the next day…
Day 7 in London
So. I woke up early this morning to go into Foundation House AGAIN to talk to the woman in charge of scheduling to change my classes. Granted, I had already emailed her once about it, to which she didn’t respond, and had gone in the day before as well to see her.
I walked upstairs to see her, and just my luck, she was not going to be in today because she was sick.
The other woman in the office took down my information and my schedule change requests and said she would email Zehra about it.
So I went home.
Once back at the flat, I decided I was going to start booking flights and trains and hostels for the weekend in Dublin, Ireland despite not being able to change my schedule yet. The night before, everyone had booked their trips for the upcoming weekend and I decided I was going to as well.
She will get my email and she will change my schedule is what I kept telling myself. I will go to Dublin and all will be fine.
I ended up emailing Zehra again myself as she didn’t seem to get the other woman’s email and contact me after two hours. So I emailed her myself.
Another hour later, still no response. The class I was trying to switch was in less than two hours.
So I ended up calling the FIE office. They said they would attempt to contact her.
More time went by so I called again. I needed a response and it was becoming ridiculous. I was told that she would not be coming in, but would be working from home and responding to emails. Not mine I guess.
I left for class early and stopped in the front office, the receptionist finally got her on the phone. I think I had finally gotten across to her how badly I needed my classes changed so she put me in the classes I needed.
So I went home again, this time to change my outgoing flight on Thursday, as I was now in the Media in Britain class I needed that goes until 5 p.m. on Thursdays. Luckily, I was able to change the flight for a small fee, but now everything is straightened out and I couldn’t be happier! My stress levels have definitely dropped.
At 6 p.m., I headed back to the Foundation House for my Media in Britain class. The professor is from Australia and she seems quite quirky but passionate about all things media in Britain. We learned a lot about the British Broadcasting Corporation today. The media system in the U.K. is nothing like that of the system in the U.S. so it makes it really interesting to learn about.
After class, I went with my friend Sophia to London Bridge. It was about 9:30 p.m. so the whole river was lit up and very pretty. I love taking night trips to the heart of the city and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it!
Another day of classes tomorrow and I believe I am going to explore more of Hyde Park before class at two. Until then!