In which I imagine a normal day in my life, after having been in London for a few weeks…
The sunlight creeps through my window, making my body naturally react to the rays and I wake up. Looking out over the city, I can’t believe how lucky I am to get such a beautiful view of this city, the one I am calling home for a year of my life. It’s hard to look away and get myself ready for the day, but I pull my gaze towards other things and force myself out of bed. Living in a dorm again was never something I expected to happen again, but the sense of community between my flatmates and I are what makes it alright to be confined to a small, generic room. Joking around at breakfast about the impending Tube strike and wondering when we’re going to randomly run into our first celebrity on the streets, dominate our conversation. We’re all in the same boat. Postgraduate students from all over the world, stuffed into the only housing we felt we could achieve.
I run back to my room to grab my things. I can’t go anywhere in this magnificent city without my camera. I trot down the stairs and out the door into the crisp fall morning. My first stop is the Starbucks, less than 500 feet around the corner. It’s only been a couple weeks, but the baristas already know me and are ready to pour me some brewed coffee into my mug. The warmth of my cup is all that I needed to wake me up to enjoy this day. I start to drink my Pike Place brew (which reminds me of my Seattle home), and head out the door into a ready London.
Besides putting together a bucket list of locations I want to explore, I decide to let the day take me wherever it needs to. Since I’ve already been to all the major tourist attractions (at least four times now), it’s time to find a new nook and cranny of the city that isn’t known to me or the tourist lists that plague the internet. I wander down alleyways and quiet streets. I shoot photographs of all the beautiful and interesting things I see. The way I carry myself is not that of a visitor to this city, but of an artist wanting to capture her surroundings.
I decide that I want to head to Portobello Road, to unearth some new vintage item that I don’t need, so I take the nearest Tube to Notting Hill Gate. Riding the Underground is one of my favorite things to do. Yes, during peak hours it can become a horrible cesspit of unfriendly humans, but during the times when it’s less populated, jumping onboard and coasting along to the intended stop is all I really want to live for. The interesting people who ride make it completely worth the journey. I want to know their backstory. It’s a very “Humans of New York” moment when I want to take a photo of them and ask them a question about their life, but I decide against it as my stop comes up.
Getting off the Tube and trekking up the long escalator to the surface gives me time to relax before walking, however long, to my destination. Wandering down hobbled streets and inhaling the sights, sounds and smells of London are the intention of this year-long program. Portobello Road Market never fails to intrigue me with the beautiful relics and unique items that are for sale from a variety of vendors. The moment I buy a cute shirt for £15 at one shop, but then down the road, find the same one for £10, makes me remember to always check around before committing to buy anything, no matter how much I want it upon first sight.
Hours later, and 500 new images on the memory card, it’s time to go home and actually do homework for the course I am enrolled in. The journey home is never the same as the one you took to get there. There are so many new faces and paths to take to get back to that small haven I sleep and rest in. Upon getting home and flopping down onto the bed, I decide that a cup of tea and some instrumental music is the best way to aid my studies, as I open my laptop to write about the day. This year of my life is intended to create a better writer in me, and every walkabout and exploration I take around this city will bring me closer to becoming a mistress of arts in London-themed creative writing.