As a student I rarely have any proper holidays, as my “study free” periods are often used to prepare for exams and to write essays, this year’s Christmas holiday included but it was worth the hard work to be able to hold a real holiday with the boyfriend two weeks ago; my first since Easter last year. And my first vacation in London as a non-tourist since I came to live here.
Now, this didn’t mean that some touristy activities didn’t take place but it was accompanied by lazy hours of chocolate eating, watching Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, walking in the park and a trip to the cinema to see American Hustle.
I’m so excited about being home for Christmas. I am back in the house where I grew up and me and the family had begun the Christmas preparation of decorating the house, baking and wrapping up the many presents that were already lying around waiting for us to rip that glittery Christmas paper off, when I came home the 17th. Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, even though I hate the cold and the dark of this season. For me, Christmas makes up for all of that and I have longed to get a break from uni and to go home to spend a traditional Christmas with my family.
Now, in Denmark there are some things you need in order to properly celebrate in true Danish fashion. When it comes to the food, you can’t have a Danish Christmas without eating huge amounts of treats such as Pepernødder (Peppar Nuts – a spicy, peppery biscuit). This also includes baking your own treats, usually Vaniliekranse, Brunkager and Havegrynskugler (Vanilla biscuits, Ginger Biscuits and small balls of oat & chocolate).
The last time I posted I was home on holiday during reading week. Now that I am home again for my Christmas break I’ve realized that nothing has been posted since.
I have been so busy writing essays and keeping up with my studies that I have hardly had any time to myself, let alone to blog. Things are done differently in the UK and after 2 years of university studies I’ve had to start all over again, learn everything from scratch. It has been a stressful challenge, one that has sometimes made me think: “Why am I even doing this in the first place? Why did I move to London when studying at home would have been so much easier?”
Living in London is an absolutely amazing experience and I feel lucky every single day when I wake up and realise I’m still here. The city is a lively, noisy, busy, exciting and inspiring place to be. Nevertheless I was excited about getting a little break from London last weekend, as me and a friend went on a little trip to Kent.
A few stops on the tube, a short ride on the train and an hour long car drive later and I found myself having left London and it’s never ceasing noise far behind me. It was so lovely to be somewhere with nature, greenery and trees, seeing herds of cows and sheep grazing on fields where no tall houses obstructed the view of the horizon. As we drove into the lovely sea town of Whitstable I was practically jumping in my seat and squealing with delight as the sea came into my view.
This week I picked Thursday to be my study-free indulgence day. The weather was absolutely lovely, the sun shining, the air warm (and admittedly also a bit humid) and on my way back to my house after an errand-run, I told myself that I couldn’t possibly go back to my room to read indoor as it would be such a shame on a sunny day like this! So instead I went home, grabbed my camera and went outside and into the sun, for a long autumnal walk in the neighborhood.
I began my walk by strolling down to one of my newly found favourite shops in London, one of the not so secret local secrets, the secondhand bookshop Skoob down on Marchmont Street. I justified my trip (the second in less than a week) by searching the shelves for inspiration and possible Christmas presents for friends and family. It’s one of those awfully well-stocked places, where you will always be able to find at least one book that will prevent you from leaving empty handed. I left the shop very happily half an hour later when I had found the perfect gift for someone special.
I am slowly starting to get used to my new life in London, so different from the one I lead at home. Meeting my house mates in the kitchen at various hours of the day has become one of my daily enjoyments and I have familiarized myself with a larger part of the area I live in; I now know many of the street names and no longer find myself suddenly lost down some unrecognizable street.
My mother came to visit me and I was so excited about showing her the beautiful area of Bloomsbury and also seeing some other parts of London with her. The visit was accompanied with a lot of first experiences for me.
Lately, I’ve been feeling exhausted and stressed out with all the practical matters that I need to sort out. So when Wednesday looked down upon me with no lectures, I wanted to give myself some well-earned time off, a break from everything that is filling my head with worry, anxiety and stress.
For my time-out I chose to treat myself with a little visit to the lovely little Patisserie Deux Amis on Judd Street, just down the street from where I live. I have already walked past many times on my way to campus or grocery shopping and I have been dying to try it out.
Being here is exciting, overwhelming, stressful, fun, exhausting and special. My brain is still struggling to realize how amazing it is that I am here, after years of dreaming about coming to live in London and now I even get to do it while spending my time going to lectures at UCL, now ranked the 4th best uni in the world.
I am happy and excited that this very big dream of mine finally became possible, I feel lucky and almost spoiled. But being here is also a bit like being home and a everyday routine is slowly starting to form. This is not a 10-month long holiday for me. In between socializing with all the friendly new people, starting my interesting classes at uni and exploring the city, I also have to do the dishes, find time to do the laundry and make an effort to cook myself healthy food, even when I’m tired or when I have 10 other things to sort out before the following day. Exactly like if I had been at home.
It is a time of firsts and last Tuesday became the day of my first ever trip on a London Bus. It does feel a bit silly to me that I have been to London 4 times without never actually being on one of the famous red busses that these streets are filled with.
Me and some of my new friends from uni were in luck. We got the front seat at the top with the best view of Camden High Street as we rode down it towards the Stables Market. The market was another first for me. It’s been one of those places I’ve been planning to see on all of my previous trips but then never got around to.
I’m here!! I’m in London!
Okay, I have actually been here for over a week now but I have simply been so busy that I haven’t even managed to blog about it, which is terrible for the blog but good for me. It means I’m having a super busy but exciting student life in the UK already. So yeh, being a student in LDN. I found out it’s not quite the same as being a tourist here. The city itself feels different to me because I have to try to relate to it as my new home and can’t just see it as a temporary place of fun. If I have to be honest the first two days here were scary and made me long for my own bed and my old bedroom. I felt lost and alone. But ever since I met some of the people who live in the same House and since I started my induction at the university, I haven’t had time to feel lonely or scared.
Ever since I got my acceptance letter from UCL it has felt like someone has pressed the fast forward button on my life. Time is flying by in super speed and I can’t really get my head around the fact that I’m leaving in just one week!! Even after all these months of waiting, I can’t help thinking: is it really time already?
My Summer has been very busy and not very relaxing. 3,5 months of constant exams and papers to write (note: no holiday this year!) but now I am finally free and can begin the preparations that I need to get through before I’m ready to move. For weeks I have had a massive, constantly growing and somewhat neglected To Do List lying on my desk but now I’m finally seeing it getting a little bit smaller every day. Some of the more important and exciting things on the list have been to: