Joyce Leung is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A dietetics major at D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York, she is studying abroad in London this term.
In her first post, Joyce shares her experience of navigating London with her suitcase on arrival and exploring her new neighborhood, Shepherd's Bush.
I was really worried about how I was going to carry 27kg around the city when I arrived at Heathrow Airport. As mentioned in my pre-departure post, I contemplated hanging out for a bit to wait until morning rush hour finished before I started my journey to the flat. It took me 18 hours to get to London from my last travel destination. I was tired. I wanted a nap. I went ahead and joined rush hour anyways. For the most part, it was much smoother than I anticipated! I didn’t have any struggles until I reached the tube station right across from my flat. It had no lift or escalators. Those stairs looked intimidating but I managed to carry it down the first one third without hurting myself.
Then a young female stranger offered me some help to bring it down together. I’ve been warned of the different scenarios of how theft can take place in Europe. I was paranoid that this would be one of them. I looked at her and I looked at my suitcase. I said, “I don’t even know how” and she showed me the most efficient way for a team of two to tackle this. My suitcase was so heavy and this girl wasn’t much bigger in size than I was. I doubt she would have made it far if she tried to steal it anyways. She told me about her first day alone in London and how difficult that experience was with the stairs and the suitcases. I am grateful to have come across such a wonderful stranger.
I knew ahead of time that my flat did not have a lift. I didn’t expect it to be outdoors. I also didn’t expect my flat to be so high up! By the end of these six weeks, my legs should be incredibly toned by walking up and down these stairs multiple times a day. Luckily, another student helped me with carrying my stuff to my flat. I felt so spoiled by life coming across so much help in so little time!
My flatmates and I took a neighborhood tour led by some CAPA staff. I remember being told which stores were cheaper and pricier for groceries and where to find inexpensive household goods. Most of it seemed like a blur because I was so exhausted.
I’m so excited to live right next to the Shephard’s Bush Market! As a dietetics major and a public health minor, I am very enthusiastic about how easily accessible, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing fresh fruits and vegetables are for my neighborhood. I’m loving it!
The recommended food places were not a blur though. My flatmates and I went to look for Kerbisher & Malt as soon as the tour was over. They said it was about a six minute walk around the corner from our flat. Let’s just say it took us more than six minutes to find this place.
Here was my first meal. (Fish and chips with a rose lemonade.)
Joyce's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.