14 Jul Breaking Expectations: My First Days in London
As I prepared for my trip to London, I was most frequently asked, “Are you excited?” To which I usually responded, “I will be.” I will be, once I get to through the Winnipeg airport, then through Montréal, and then find Vedant, one of our Program Coordinators, in Heathrow airport. I will be, once I’ve met everyone and am safely tucked away in the accommodations with my luggage intact and in tow. I will be, once I’ve actually begun this crazy journey, and my expectations are actualized as something more reliable than just expectations. This, in case you couldn’t guess, is a horrible plan for someone who was too nervous to even think about getting excited.
Luckily, I was wrong in all the right ways. London defies expectations, it shakes them off the way a dog might a flea, as if it’s something vaguely annoying and irritating it doesn’t have time for. In every corner of this city there is another twist or hollow or bend where old brick is replaced by towering glass buildings, or the sound of screeching cars is muffled by surprisingly empty tube platforms. In my four short days here, I’ve seen the smallest glimmer of what London has to offer, and it has already been so fantastically varied. I’ve gone to a couple local nightclubs well equipped with blaring music and disco balls, I’ve seen several traditionally tourist-y London landmarks—including the London Tower, the London Eye and Big Ben—from atop an equally tourist-y bus, I’ve visited the incredibly poignant Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, I’ve eaten at a American style 50’s themed diner, and I’ve even been graced with an unheard of London sunburn. Then, as I entered the lobby of my new internship placement this morning for the first time, I saw a poster that so neatly described up my first impression of London that I forgot to take a picture of it for you all (oops), but I can tell you it said, “Move fast and break things.” Break molds and expectations and do everything you possibly can. That’s the plan.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to this city, and I’m pretty excited about that.