Living in London for the past four months have been magical, prior to arriving I had thought quite a bit about my traveling experiences and any hopes or goals that I had for this journey.
I didn’t want to arrive without a set plan, but I also knew that there was something constraining about setting any type of limitations on what I might feel or experience over the course of the next few months. In the end, I feel like my experience leaned closer to a typical Londoner than a tourist, although I was very much still a tourist. I think what distinguished my time abroad is I was in search of lesser-known shops and eateries and want to live as the locals did. So, I asked London residents for their favorite hidden gems and often wound up eating in whole in the wall restaurants. I think in my opinion I just adored the fact that London felt like such a well-loved city, so I was able to fall into my own rhythm here: I joined a Church on Tottenham Court Road and started serving, I made friends from King’s and other groups, etc. it all just began to feel incredibly natural. A beautiful quality of London is the fact that the city is large enough that everyone can claim ownership of it, I felt excited when I mastered the routes to my favorite areas or when the baristas knew my name and order at the coffee shop; and as someone who tends to have a romanticized view of life this all made sense for my personality.
During my time at King’s, I’ve lived in the Stamford Street Apartments which is located in Waterloo. The area is bursting with coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and is located quite close to the Tate Modern, Borough Market and down the road from the Waterloo Bridge. This is definitely a perk of staying in student accommodation at King’s, the flats are quite centrally located making it easy to hop on the tube, bus or walk to explore the city. As someone from a very suburban Midwestern city, I definitely suggest taking advantage of how easy London is to navigate (and if you ever have trouble with directions, apps like Citymapper are a great help). One of my favorite ways to explore was to take the tube to different parts of the city: I’d go to the Brick Lane Market in Shoreditch to check out vintage shops and the Vegan Food Hall or to Notting Hill for the Portobello Road Market and of course, the beautiful candy-colored homes in Notting Hill.
London is an incredibly diverse mosaic of humans and is filled with opportunities and events, from shows to pubs to food markets there is always something for everyone and being able to immerse yourself in its radiance for a few months is truly a gift.