You Can’t Spell London without ACK
Well, actually, you can, but it doesn’t feel like it today.
I left NYC Tuesday night. I was on a newer plane, so each seat had its own TV with pre-loaded movies and shows. Mad Men season two kept me up for the duration of the flight. I transferred through Dublin, and all four of my bags (including my guitar) made it through intact and unscathed. The jury is still out on whether I can say the same thing about myself.
As you may be aware, traffic in London is horrible, so I booked a shuttle service instead of a taxi so I wouldn’t be worried as the meter clicked ever-higher. Unfortunately that meant that even though my flight arrived at 12:30, I didn’t get to my new place until just before 4. But it was worth it – with four bags public transit would have been comical at best.
My apartment is great. It’s in the basement, and reminds me a bit of those apartments that have full windows below ground and a sidewalk grate above. You walk in, and to the left is the bedroom. It’s got a closet that actually holds all of my dresses, coats and shoes. And it has the most unexpected, beautiful thing of all: a double bed. That’s right. I won’t be hanging my feet over the edge of a tiny single bed for the next year. I wont have to sleep in the fetal position to fit on the mattress. No – I will be comfortable and able to stretch out every night. Score.
To the right as you enter the apartment is the bathroom, which is quite tiny. The shower requires serious stability to keep from falling out. But it works.
There is another door to pass through to get into the main living area, which is sort of shaped like a tee. There is a very long desk with chair facing the window, and a bookcase. Then there’s this sort of bizarre space that isn’t really well-lit and serves very little purpose, so I think I’ll put up a curtain there and just treat it as a second closet. The other half of the top of the tee is the kitchen. I have two little refridgerators, so I may actually be able to keep more on hand than condements and pints of sorbet. And there’s a little table with chairs, so I can eat properly when I get around to buying plates, utensils and pots and pans.
Which brings me to the ACK part. The apartment is furnished, but doesn’t have any of the other things one would need to live comfortably, like linens or kitchen supplies. I wandered for a good hour trying to find a place, and as I was giving up I happened to run into one of the two people at LSE who I met previously and exchanged information with. He directed me to Argos, which is basically like a cheap Linens N Things, except you order off the website or a catalogue and go pick the stuff up. Lots of things were sold out, so I ended up with some questionable linens (I believe my duvet cover is highly flammable), but hey, if I can finally convince my body that yes, 2AM London time IS a good time to be in bed, I won’t care. I just want to sleep.
The neighborhood is really amazing. To the east isn’t so exciting (or at least didn’t seem so YET), but right around to the west there’s this great alleyway filled with interesting shops and restaurants. And pubs. Many, many pubs. I figure I’ll pick one a night once I get back on some sort of schedule and see which ones are fun for hanging out and which might be conducive to studying with a pint.
I’m so overtired, and totally weirded out, I have to say. I haven’t lived in a new city in seven years, and I’m feeling about the same way I did that first night in NYC, which is to say, a bit off. My emotionally exhausted body is screaming “what are you doing?! Why did you leave New York? Or why didn’t you at least go somewhere more familiar?!” but the logical part of me is trying so hard to fight back with “dude, it’s awesome. You’re just super tired and a little stressed. Here, have some hummus.”
I hope to get maybe four or five hours of sleep tonight and then get started early tomorrow, getting in a run, going to campus for the first time, and maybe seeing “The September Issue” in the afternoon. I’ve always thought that seeing a movie somewhere makes everything seem a little bit more manageable and a bit more like home.
I hope to have pictures of the place and neighborhood up once I have some sort of storage for my non-hanging clothes.