Hey party people!
It’s been exactly a month since I left the US to go abroad to London! It’s been a great experience thus far. I’ve been able to travel to various places and explore my new surroundings. I’ve already found some of my favorite spots and am always up to try new places and new food! I still don’t drink caffeine really but have had tea a couple of times, so I’m staying true to myself while still being ~cultured~. I’ve eaten your basic fish and chips and fell in love with Crosstown Donuts. I wandered in the chaotic beauty of Notting Hill, Camden Market, and Shoreditch. I’ve strolled through the wonderful (and free!) art museums and am thoroughly convinced that London has the best public transportation system (I’ve only used a cab once — and that was to get to my dorm from the airport!). I’ve admired my new home from the Top of the Shard and am anxiously waiting to ride the London Eye. I’ve stood on the Prime Meridian and felt absolute ~balance~. I miss Oreos and Cheetos and still have yet to find unflavored pita chips (I mean really?). Overall, I’ve been trying to make the best of my time here by doing something everyday in order to successfully fulfill my 1 Second Everyday goal (it’s an app, look it up). You could say that I’m immersing myself into the culture because I’ve gotten used to everyone driving on the wrong side of the road. I still have so many things that I want to do while I’m here and I’m fairly confident that I will accomplish the majority of it.
One thing that’s special to my personal abroad experience is that I don’t have a data plan while I’m here. I have a burner phone that is essentially a brick Nokia from 2002. It’s honestly a challenge, but I like challenges. While I did bring my phone from the US with me, it functions as an iPod Touch. It can play music that I’ve saved on Spotify while I walk around or use the public transportation and take pictures if I see something beautiful, funny, or inspiring. Other than that, I depend heavily on WiFi to communicate with friends and family, which thankfully I have in my dorm and school building, as well as most restaurants and museums in London. You can still reach me with my US number and I can iMessage and FaceTime. I also frequently use Snapchat, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
This aspect of my abroad experience has transformed me into a great planner! I research places that I want to go, where they are located, and when they are open at least once a day. This is something that I probably should do already, but am simply too lazyto do. It also makes me pretty proactive when I plan outings with others.
Although this makes the abroad experience more difficult, I like not having a data plan. It’s made me realize how much time I actually spend on my phone after I’ve taken it out of my pocket to unsuccessfully download Instagram hundreds of times. I have to plan out my days in advance most of the time, which honestly makes my day a heck of a lot easier. I’ve been very observant with the public transportation system here and can confidently say that I know it pretty well for someone who has only been here for a month. I’ve found myself frustrated when realizing how much people use their phones and realized that I may have mentally aged 20 years while being here for a month just because I keep yelling at young whippersnappers to get off of their phones.
That being said, we do live in a world where the Internet and a cellphone is a necessity, and I’m thankful for three things: Free Wi-Fi in many places, the fact that my first language is English and that I’m studying abroad in England, and for the very patient friends that will look up something for me when I’m out with them in the city.
I’m enjoying my little stint without a data plan, though. It’s made me think introspectively about my behavior and being tied to technology. Every day I wonder if I’ll make it through the semester. At this point, I’ve made it nearly a third of the way through my term here, so I feel pretty confident in my ability to survive.
Thanks for livin’ the abroad life with Annie!
P.S. Happy birthday to my amazing Aunt Myszie 🙂 love and miss you!