One of my favorite things about King’s College is its location right in the middle of central London. I loved being able to step outside and be greeted by the everyday hustle and bustle of city life. Each morning I would walk across Waterloo Bridge to get to my classes and that walk, framed by the Eye and Westminster on one side and the Shard and St. Paul on the other, always reminded me how lucky I was to live in this incredible city. I never got tired of that view, no matter how many times I crossed that bridge.
There were so many incredible sites to see within walking distance: The National Gallery, the West End, the Globe Theater, Big Ben, Covent Garden, (and so much more) and I made to explore all of those places while I was there. But the places I loved best were the small local hubs that made me feel like home. My friends discovered a Thai restaurant a few blocks away from our flat and we would go there once a week for their amazing noodles and curry dishes. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was exactly what we needed on a rainy London evening. One of my flat mates discovered an internet café with great drinks and delicious pastries that we all quickly flocked to. We would spend hours on the café’s lower level drinking tea and nibbling on chelsea buns while we did readings for class. Life abroad can be hectic, and it felt good to just sit down and enjoy our time together. On the last night that all of my flat mates were in London, we went down to this café to grab drinks one final time. We stayed until the café closed, reminiscing about our time together, and the barista brought us a plate of pastries to thank us for being loyal customers for the past four months.
While I enjoyed exploring the famous landmarks in London, it was far more than a place to be a long-term tourist. It was my home, and the city had so much to offer in that capacity. I loved buying a pack of digestives at a Tesco Express on my way back from class, talking to stall attendants at Borough Market while I picked up food for our Thanksgiving dinner, and memorizing the Underground map so I could find my way around the city. These are the things that made London feel like home for me. Not the museums, or the monuments, or even the parks. Simply fitting into the day-to-day life was enough for me.