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Melissa’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2005

Location: London, UK

MapI LOOOVE LONDON! These words ring in my head every time I get the chance to take in the scene around me -- whether it be a walk through Hyde Park, a stroll around Covent Garden, or being pleased at myself in finding my way along the Tube routes! I can't believe I've only been in London for a little over a week! It feels as if I've been here for longer already! This past week has been a mixture of both highs and lows. The dimmest parts were definitely the stresses and frustrations brought on by hunting for a flat. I've never in my life had to find myself a place to live in such a short amount of time, dish out so much money in such a short amount of time, and make quick but wise decisions under such time pressure. But, thank God, all things have worked out, and I'm living with 3 other girls who I am definitely looking forward to becoming better friends with. Some of the highlights have been the EATING (of course), the exploring around London, meeting new and different people, and hanging out with my flatmates.

So, my flatmates and I found a cute place in an area between Bayswater and Notting Hill, about a 20 minute bus ride or two tube stops from my school in South Kensington. The flat is cute with two bedrooms and a spacious living room with a balcony that overlooks the street. Bayswater and Notting Hill are both really cute areas with boutique shops and really good food all within walking distance! I have yet to eat something that wasn't good!!

As far as the eating---I've eaten some of the best Indian food and Thai food in my life, and have tried Lebanese food and Cornish chicken pasties (almost like handheld chicken pot pies). Can't say too much about the English food---I've still yet to eat some real pub food like fish and chips, but I know I'm not missing much. Back in the US, I was already a huge fan of Indian food. Being here has made me love it even more! And, there are some great places right across the street from my flat! The other night we went to this place called Churchill Arms--famous b/c it's a pub that also serves Thai food. And, it's not just any Thai express type food---but good quality Thai food that rivals Saladang in taste!! It was really really good!!

I'm sad that school started yesterday and reality set in that I'm really here to take my classes (and hopefully, do some traveling when I can.. =P).. But, before that, I have seriously been out to a bar or club every single night. Winson--you would be happy.. haha.. Londoners are crazy. It's not even that they party hard, but they love chatting it up in their pubs. I don't understand how they can drink so much and smoke so much. Most pubs are pretty low key, just a place to hang with friends.. but it's just so smoky! .. These days, I don't care too much that I smell like smoke, b/c I know I'll end up smelling like smoke by the end of the day anyways. And what's weird, is that most pubs close at 11pm, so that if you wanted to stay out later with friends, you would then go to a bar or club, which usually charges cover. It's definitely been fun going out every night, though, as I've gotten to know the people in my program better, and even gotten to know some foreigners as well just from being in these places.

It's also been great hanging out with my friends more, especially outside the context of law school. It's funny, b/c my flatmates have expressed that they are surprised in seeing the more "wild" side of me when we go out!.. =P ----to which I reply that I've always been like that, they've just never seen me outside of law school! .. haha.. But, I think my energy to go out almost every night this past week has seriously been intensified by Becca, with whom I share a room (and double bed, since the room is too small for two singles). So, even if I didn't know her too well in law school, now we're really getting to know each other...=P But, we get along well. She is a really sweet, down-to-earth, sincere Texan, who is always up for partying, having a good time, trying new things, eating, and late night munching!! Hmmm, many of the things I like to do! Yes, it's been great hanging out with all my flatmates. Christy is one of my good friends from school and is like the mom of the group, who's always looking out for us. Kelly, my other flatmate, is the baby of our group and the flirt...who's always gets hit on by foreign men! .. haha.. I'm really enjoying the time I get to spend with all of them.

So, yes, to say the least, London has been fun! .. Sadly, school started yesterday, so I'm sure my partying days will be curbed somewhat. I'm still trying to adjust and want to get on a routine. It's been really hard to concentrate and focus when there's so many better things to do than read for my classes! This is something you can definitely keep me in prayer for..

Also, if you remember, please pray for my quiet times. Amidst all the running around, flat hunting, hanging out with people, I haven't set aside time to "hang out" with God, and I miss it. =\ So, please pray for me regarding that.

One item of thanksgiving, however, is that as I am meeting more and more people in my program, I am finding that there are several others who regularly attend church. One of my concerns in being in London was that I wasn't going to have people to attend church with or others interested in checking out churches. Now I'm realizing there are a handful of us here, so please pray for these new friendships as well!

Ok, friends, I MISS YOU ALL! .. i will try to update again soon! .. i've got to go to class now! .. talk to you soon!