Today I flew to London, England where I will be living for the next month of my life. For anyone who doesn’t know, I am here for a Study Abroad program where I will be taking courses in Shakespeare and Film Narrative. But before that happens I am currently here with my mom to visit our relatives.
Because my Grandmother is British (she was born and raised in England before moving to America as an adult where she met my grandfather), half of my moms cousins, as well as other more distant relatives on the family tree, live in England. When I was 10 years old I visited England for the first time with my mom and grandma. We stayed for two weeks, most of which we spent in London with our relative Anthea, but we also drove to other cities to stay with my moms cousins. I will be completely honest in saying that I did not appreciate that trip when it took place. I remember not knowing we were going until it was already decided, and being disappointed that, because of the trip, I wouldn’t be able to take part in any of the summer shows at my hometown theatre, or their six week conservatory program which I was finally eligible for. It was also tough because I was so young and no one we were staying with had children of the same age, except for one family towards the end of the trip (they also had sheep nearby so that was a highlight). The times since that I’ve stayed in London have only been for a matter of days, when I was entering my Junior year of High School and came with the Theatre Department as we were partaking in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the program had us land in London and spend a few days there, and then again last summer with my parents and brother as part of our trip to Europe where we spent two days in Ireland, two days in England, and a week Island hopping in Greece. My mom and I had a conversation during the trip of how the following summer we would come to London together, as we were both disappointed in how few days we had been able to spend there. Once we came back I decided, just for the heck of it, to look at my former college’s Study Abroad website to see what trips they were offering.
Before moving to Los Angeles, I lived in Santa Barbara for three years where I attended Santa Barbara City College. In addition to having a gorgeous campus and being one of the top Community College’s in the country, SBCC is also known for it Study Abroad programs. They’re significantly cheaper than University Programs while also being able to offer a range of courses as well as different options for Fall, Spring, and Summer. When I went on the website I was very excited to find that not only were they offering a one month summer program in London, England but that the courses were to be Shakespeare and Film Narrative, perfect courses for a Theatre Major such as myself. I brought up the idea to my mom shortly after and she was on board. It was still just an idea until we rung in the new year. That’s when I decided to take action, go to one of the meetings and turn in my application, which I will be honest with you, I definitely mentioned that one of the things I would have a difficult time with while away was not having access to In n Out Burger. After having a final interview, I found out I had been accepted in the Spring, and at the end of May attended our pre-departure meeting to find out everything we needed to know prior to the trip as well as meet the rest of the group.
Back to the present, two days ago now, though it’d only be yesterday if I was in the US, I said goodbye to In n Out, I mean my friends before peacing out for a month and avoiding the heat of living in LA. My friend Reza dropped me off at LAX at about 5:30pm, even though my flight didn’t leave until 9:30pm, because I wanted to be extra safe with both traffic and getting through security. My mom met me at our gate about an hour later as she had flown down for San Jose. Then we hopped on the plane at LAX where after watching the movie Trolls with my mom, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I managed to get 6 hours of sleep, which I was especially grateful for because I usually can’t sleep on planes. I really must’ve had a good slumber because when I woke up my mom asked if the baby’s crying had woken me up at any point, to which I said “What Baby?”.
After we landed we had the joy of getting our passports checked. It was a little more busy than usual and took almost an hour to get through. I also had to make sure I was given a visa as I will be studying, so that was exciting. When we finally made it to baggage claim, my suitcase appeared in front of us within seconds which was stellar. My mom however did not recognize what the bottom of her suitcase looked like, and for a moment worried that it had gotten lost, it hadn’t and she saw it the second time around. Then we ordered an uber to take us to Anthea’s, which will be our home base for the week. I managed to take a quick nap in the uber when I looked at the GPS and saw it would be another 50 minutes with the traffic, during which time naturally my mom became buddies with the driver and learned his life story.
Once we arrived I was quickly reminded how many flights of stairs are in their home. I have not yet counted but decided to only take my carry on luggage with my the first time up, and bring my suitcase up one flight at a time. We then had some wine in their backyard with her husband Richard and their children, who are actually both adults older than me. Before dinner I was asked if I was a vegetarian with worry and replied “Yes, but I eat fish”, to which there was much relief as Salmon had been prepared. The meal was delicious and after which we had a small dessert which I’m of course blanking on the name but can only describe as the American version of Cream Puffs which you can find in the freezer section of Costco. They were good though. I somehow managed to stay up until 10:30 PM which will hopefully help me survive the jetlag. I do also want to note that for whatever reason the heat of California decided to come with us because it’s about 85º right now so I struggled to open the window for a few minutes before giving up and luckily passing out due to exhaustion. I then only woke up once around 3:20 am, which I've now found out was due to an airplane, before falling back to sleep and waking up around 6:45am. I'm not exactly sure what my mom in I have in store for this week since she's got it all planned out. I do know it will be lots of commuting throughout England to stay with all the different cousins but I'll do my best to update you all as day to day as I can, and as much as the wifi while permit.
Garfield the Cat
For those of you I already sent a photo of that asked me to bring him home with me.