Wednesday, August 17, 2011

London: An intro

On July 28th I left on a journey that would take me though London, England and also to Edinburgh, Scotland. My journey was set for 18 days and the only way I was able to do this was due to the hospitality of my good friend Davin Gall and his family.

I met Davin in January of 2009 when he was studying abroad at Michigan State University. Our first encounter was me (who was the front desk receptionist at the time) helping Davin use the ATM machine in the lobby of McDonel Hall.
 Us in 2009, Club Rush, East Lansing

From then on for the rest of his four month stay in the USA the two of us were good friends. Much later that year when I found out I would be going to Morocco for my Peace Corps service we made tentative plans for me to come stay with him in London because I would be so close.

Plans from nearly two years before had been followed through and at three o'clock in the morning I found myself reunited with Davin once again in London Victoria Station. After making our way to his home he told me that I would be sharing his bed. Lying oppositely of course.

Now I'm not normally one who likes to share a bed. But Davin's bed was big enough and so comfortable that I slept like a baby every night and barely noticed I was sharing anything.

Davin's parents were very welcoming to me and encouraged me to feel at home. On the first morning I ate a big bowl of Cheerio's while talking to Davin's dad Cecil. I inhaled the Cheerio's like it was a $500 meal. Let's just say it had been a long while since I had had a large bowl of cereal with ice cold skim milk.

I spent my entire first day in London going in and out of sleep alone in Davin's bed. After my long day of travel and being up until four a.m. I needed the rest to power me up for the touring ahead. Davin is working in a full time marketing internship so he was occupied from nine to five everyday.

Whether he was working or not I never dreamed of dragging Davin to all the tourist hot spots around his own hometown. He admitted that there were many places on my list that he in fact had never been, but I was fine enough doing most of the exploring on my own. I headed out each day with my map of London and my notebook full of places to go.

At the end of each day I was exhausted ready for a recuperative night's sleep to prepare me to head out the next morning. I was happy to be there for such a long time because I knew I didn't have to squeeze everything into a few days but rather take London in little by little. That being said I still had so much to do to fill up every single day and my relaxing trip turned into a very busy one.

However, I didn't mind at all. I couldn't see myself sitting around when there was so much out there to be seen and experienced. Even if it just meant walking around taking in London's history or eating a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich, one of many foods I have surely missed.

I enjoyed being on my own and taking on the challenges that London wanted to throw at me. I got the public transport system down in just the first day and the ease of using my map proved to me that maybe I'm not as directionally challenged as I think. I enjoyed having my independence and feeling safe and comforted on the London streets. I enjoyed peoples' politeness and the order there was to things.

Davin and I spent the evenings and weekends together. Laughing and joking, usually coming back to the topic of conversation we seem to love the most, the difference between American and British English. We both love to laugh at each other when we try to do the others' accent. To Davin I sound so "posh" and Davin kind of sounds like a cowboy to me. We're better off sticking to our own accents.
 Us in 2011, Trafalgar Square, London

I ate breakfast and dinner at Davin's house, saving me money. Since London is so expensive I would have never have been able to afford accommodations for that long. But staying with Davin's family also kept me grounded. It was nice to feel like I was on vacation during the day while touring, but at night I could come back to a real house and a real family. I ate more than one home cooked meal with them.

In the coming days I'm happy to share more in depth details of my journey from the places I went to the things I loved. Please be sure to keep reading.