a series of firsts

I've been in London a week now, but it's taken me a while to feel settled in enough to blog.  So much has happened already--it's intimidating thinking about blogging it all.  I apologize in advance for the lengthy post...  I generally prefer posts with fewer photos, but I have a lot of ground to cover in this first post!

The first night was a heavy-headed blur of jetlag and confusion, but after a much needed nap, those of us who had arrived went out to dinner and took a little stroll through Trafalgar Square in the rain.  It was quite picturesque, I could literally not believe I was there.  Maybe it was the jet lag, or maybe just pure rainy magic, but it was a top-notch way to end my first night in London, I must say.
The next morning we woke up for a long-winded orientation that left me completely exhausted and restless.  Thankfully afterwards a few of my friends and I went to our first pub (funny how normal pubs have become since this) and Hyde Park to liven our spirits.  I split the Wild Berries Rekorderlig cider with Ted, which was a solid life decision.  Sitting in the window, looking out at Hyde Park across the street, tiny British children in their uniforms, posh people with their posh dogs, and double deckers passing by, it just felt right.  Don't even get me started about Hyde Park--more people and dog watching, random monuments every which way, and oh, a palace.  We live very near William & Kate.  No biggie.
Yet as magical as those moments were, the two days following I hit kind of a rut.  Of course, even these days were completely jam-packed with awesomeness.  I mean, we went on a bus tour, saw Buckingham Palace, and toured through Parliament.  No complaints there.  Yet despite these epic times in fantastic places, the city and people who were at first magical were now overwhelming me, and what was new and exciting was now kind of frustrating and unnerving (random pastries and fresh air helped).  I knew that this would happen, I just didn't realize it would happen so quickly.  Thankfully this passed as soon as it came on.  Two days of this is pure magic, two days of Okay, this is still magical but like, what is even happening?  I don't know what to do with myself.  I am still the awkward Kaylie I was in the States.  I am going to be really quiet and drink my cider., and then two days of Yes, yes, yes.  I love London.  I can see it becoming a home. 
We went to Brick Lane in East London (we live in West London) to browse the markets (see Spitafeilds above) there.  There are tons of markets and Indian restaurants (they sure are competitive, too) in the area, so the group of us divided and explored until a specific time to meet up again for lunch.  When we got to Brick Lane, a sign that said "Vintage Clothing Market" immediately caught my eye.  Eva, Siani, and I marched forward and scoped it out.  Walking into the market, it was the first time I felt truly at home in London.  Kensington is very posh and I feel very fortunate to live here (the buildings, you guys.  They are all so beautiful), but being in a different part of London made me realize that there are going to be places that I feel much more myself in.  Being amidst all the vintage clothes and trinkets, I felt much more Kaylie than I know I will feel in posh High Kensington stores, as much as I love checking those out too.  A lot of the time I wish I was more posh (can you tell how much I love having this new word in my vocabulary?), but I have to admit to myself that it's just not me. 
Monday was another fantastic, reaffirming day.  After anxious sleep, I woke up at 9:15 to get ready for my meeting with the woman I am interning with (she runs Crafty Fox Market).  It turned out even better than I anticipated, and I only felt a little self-concious (I caught myself saying "awesome" and "cool" far too many times).  We met up at a little cafe which was quite Portland-y with its exposed wood, vintage suitcase tables, and mason jar cups.  We walked around Brixton Village for a bit and I loved the vibe--I intend to go back as soon as possible because it's really cool and awesome (hah).  Apparently the area was virtually nothing four years ago and has become a hub for small businesses.  A lot of it was closed on Monday, so I will be sure to go on a weekend when it's bustling.  She pointed out the pub that she hosts some of her events at, and I am so thrilled I get to be a small part of what she does.  After taking the tube home, I bought myself a cupcake on my walk home at Hummingbird Bakery to reward myself for facing my fears and most importantly, not getting lost.
A week has now passed and I can finally say I'm starting to find some balance in this lovely, magical, but crazy, huge city.  More about classes soon.


Natalie said...


I can totally see myself getting really overwhelmed at first too, so I'm glad that you manage to get over the initial rut pretty quickly, and hopefully the rest of your time will be full of enjoyment. :) And ah! The word posh is definitely a fantastic new element to any vocab.

Lizzie said...

Coincidentally, you posted this as I was also researching study abroad programs for next fall. I'm so anxious, but seeing this posts reminds me why it'd be worth it to go.

I'm sorry to hear you felt overwhelmed but that seems perfectly reasonable.

Obviously I will enjoy reading about your stories and seeing your pictures, but I also wouldn't be so sad if you didn't blog everything. I dunno. I read this 2012 study recently that said sojourners (their word for study abroaders) found themselves negatively affected by being connected to social media. Again, I'm by no means advocating one way or another-- you do you! And I'm glad for what you share! Just, I wanted to say I understand if you try to immerse yourself even more and social media less. I hope that makes sense. :)

At any rate, everything looks so pleasant and you deserve to have the best time. Your internship sounds incredible too!

lina said...

reading this made me miss england sooo much!!! are you going to visit nicola's house?? her family is so lovely. you'll love them! i really wish i could go back when you are there!! you really must check out the cafe called drink shop do. you will LOVE it. it's so you!!

keep having a beautiful time, kaylie!

emteabee said...

hey kaylie,

i have been folowing you for a couple of years and i have never commented. but as a person presently at the halfway point of my one year exchange in germany, i couldn't help but write you.

it is going to go by so fast. i already find myself wondering where all the time went. take in everything you can, all that you can, for these moments will start a ripple affect to others.

i am heading to london at the end of the month to visit another one of my friends on exchange. you are inspiring me with locations and places! keep it up!