Monday, September 10, 2012

Hyde Park and the First Day of Class!

Today was quite the day! It was the first day of classes, and at 10 am I had "The Bloomsbury Era." This course studies authors of the Bloomsbury Era (Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, George Orwell among many, many others). The class was very small and full of people I already know from my program, and it was very nice to see so many familiar faces --not like IU, where you're lucky to even find someone friendly in your class! For homework, we have to have read Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway by the next class meeting (which will be next Monday). Since I am an English major, I am used to the demand of reading 500 page novels in only two days, so this will be nothing! Not to mention that after we discuss the novel, the following class period will be spent on a walking tour of London, seeking out the places mentioned in the novel...AMAZING. This is why I absolutely love being here in London. I really think this will help me fall in love with English literature all over again (which happens more often than you'd thing!)

Since we received homework today I decided I would begin reading it, those of you that know me well won't be surprised by this. I assumed I would read the novel like any other novel, drifting in and out of interest and struggling to find passion for the text. As soon as I opened the novel, however, I became elated by the fact that I not only knew every place Woolf was talking about, but that I had also been there! I read British literature quite often (Thomas Hardy, Dickens, Shakespeare), but I have never been able to experience this. In the novel, Mrs. Dalloway makes a journey through the city of London, and I was actually able to picture her travels in my head! I cannot express the excitement this brought upon me, and the impact this has on my understanding of the novel. I literally cannot wait to read more, because I know Woolf will mention places all over London that I have either visited or will visit in the near future. I knew studying literature in London would be an amazing experience, but I guess I didn't realize what it would do for my love of literature. I have read about the streets of London, the historic places, the character of the city my entire life, but it's not until now that I've been completely immersed in this knowledge. This may not be the easiest thing to explain to you all, but just know that my excitement is beyond anything I thought it would be! I am living in a place that I have only read about in novels, and it's everything I hoped it would be and more :)

Most of my friends were in class this afternoon, so I decided to be brave and take on the city ALONE. Since it was daylight and I had my cell phone it really wasn't that scary, but the first time alone on the tube system is something to be proud of! I have not been running since I got here, and I've been just dying to get out and do something other than walking, so I chose to spend my afternoon running around Hyde Park. I took the Central Line to the Marble Arch and hopped off at Hyde Park. I wasn't quite sure which way to go, so I chose a path and went for it. My original plan was to just stick on the same path the entire time, so I would always have a path back, but after multiple T's in the path I gave up on that plan. Luckily, Hyde Park is incredibly labeled so I was always able to find my way back to Marble Arch to catch the tube!

Running is something I have loved doing forever, and it's something I feel completely comfortable with. I run almost everywhere I go and when I do it I feel totally in my element. It was such a great thing to do in Hyde Park because I felt totally at ease, even though the reality that I was in London ALONE was a bit unnerving. I ran all around Hyde Park and a bit into Kensington Gardens and my was it beautiful! Vibrant flowers, the river, fresh green grass and fairy-tale looking trees surrounded me as I made my way through the many paths through the park. I felt so free as I was running around, and so proud of myself for not only making it to Hyde Park and going off on my own, but for coming to London in the first place. These moments of mental clarity often come while I'm running, but I just felt an overwhelming sense of pride and confidence. Every few  strides I would look up at everything around me and say, "Wow, I'm in London." And I'm not just "in" London, I'm loving every minute of it. Taking advantage of every opportunity, getting out and meeting people, and growing into the person I'm supposed to be. I can already tell that this trip is going to change me, and make me into a better person; this small step to Hyde Park was a glimpse into my future and a glimpse into the person I am, and the person I can be. I still can't believe I'm here. I still can't believe how well I've adjusted. And I still can't believe how much I truly love London.

On that note, I'm going to read a few more pages of Mrs. Dalloway and head to bed. I have a full day of class tomorrow and who knows what tomorrow night will bring. Even though I'm having an amazing time in London, I truly miss my family and friends back home (and especially Libby and Joey...duh!). I only have 3 short months to soak up all of London before I return to everyone I love at home, so Viva London!

p.s. BENNETT AND I BOOKED OUR TRIP TO PARIS! Could not me more excited :)

Goodnight everyone! XOXO from London!

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