Finally, after arriving to MSP at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, I arrived to London Gatwick at 11:00 a.m. their time- which means 5:00 a.m. Central Standard Time. From previous posts you probably gathered my two and a half hour layover turned into a seven plus hour layover in Charlotte, North Carolina. To sum it up, the right wing of our plane wasn’t in tip top condition. After boarding we had to deplane and wait almost 4 hours until we could board again. Even after boarding the second time we had to wait again for paperwork. I said many, many prayers on the just over seven hour flight to London hoping our right wing wouldn’t blow off over the Atlantic, or at any time really.
|Water, a Snack and Rag Mags to Keep me Company.|
Almost my whole class was on the plane from North Carolina. (I am studying with the University of North Carolina- Charlotte) Some of the girls already knew each other, while others recognized each other from Facebook and hung out at the airport. I stayed out of the limelight on the flight over and didn’t find the girls. Traveling alone seemed to be the right thing for me, mainly because I was still emotional from leaving home. Lame, I know. However, the flight went quite well. We had our own television screen on the seat in front of us. I ended up watching an episode of The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Glee and believe it or not…Arrested Development. Justin will enjoy that on his flight over for sure. I was able to sleep about three hours collectively, and I was pretty happy with that. Oh, and the seat next to me was open. Clearly God heard my pleas and cut me some slack.
After arriving to the airport I found the other girls from the class just as we were going through customs. I totally filled out my customs form wrong, but luckily the lady went easy on me. Sleep deprivation doesn’t allow one to really think clearly. I did make it through though which is a darn good thing because I wasn’t about to go on another plane.
Our teacher met us at the airport and we waited about 30 minutes for the final student to arrive. He is from my University so I was on the look out for him. Luckily we found him without any issue since he thought he was gonna be on his own to get to Regent’s College. (our original flight was supposed to arrive four hours before his) We boarded our coach bus and the predicted hour and fifteen minute bus ride turned into over two hours. That was fine by me since it was a perfect time to sneak in a nap.
We got to the school, received our room key, and quickly tossed our things in our room. My original roommate ended up switching since she was leaving for Italy our first weekend here and wanted to room with one of the girls she was going with. So after a quick roommate swap we were in business. More to come on my roommate in a later post, but things are going great.
We took a brief tour of the college grounds, which is situated right in Regent’s Park, and then left for our evening surprise.
|Regent’s College Main Entrance|
Our teacher whisked us away on our first tube (underground) ride. I have been on the tube before so it wasn’t a new experience for me, but I certainly did forget how fast the people move to catch their train. It is definitely overwhelming at first, especially when trying to travel in a pack of 18.
Our teacher ended up taking us to the Westminster stop off of the Jubilee Line. As you come out of the underground Big Ben and House of Parliament are there to greet you. It is quite an amazing thing to see. Again, I had seen it before so I didn’t whip out my camera right away, but it was definitely fun to be introduced to it again.
After a few photos we ended up walking towards the London Eye and enjoyed the ride. This was a new experience for me since I did not ride the London Eye when I visited in 2005. And the cost was built into our tuition so we didn’t have to worry about paying for it.
|Under the London Eye|
It takes about 30 minutes to go around in a capsule and it never stops moving. Not even to let people on and off. If you are afraid of heights it isn’t actually as freaky as you might be thinking. You rise up slowly so I think it is harder to notice how high up you really are.
|Blurry Photo Due to the Rain- House of Parliament/Big Ben|
|London From London Eye|
After stepping off the London Eye our last task for the day was to get ourselves back to the college. Most of the students split off very quickly with me left to fend for myself. Luckily, another student from my school was left to his own devices as well and we decided to head back toward campus straight away. We were both interested in getting our internet set up as well as getting settled into our rooms. (more campus pics to come later) We made it back to campus without a hitch.