Today we had our first (and only) day of orientation. It was a long day (9-5 solidly packed with meetings and such) but also really fun. We started the day with a nice walk from our flat to the teaching centre. It's about twenty-five minutes, but really relaxing and a good way to wake up. It is nice to start to getting comfortable in the city, and feel totally confident walking without having to check directions.
The morning was filled with a large amount of information, thankfully accompanied by a nice breakfast of tea and scones and fruit. A police officer also came to give a presentation on safety and good advice to follow regarding ATM scammers, pickpockets, and bag snatchers. We also each received personal alarms and a small emergency kit for each flat. After that, we went out to Lunch at Munchkins. (More on that here.)
Post-lunch, we went on a walking tour of the neighborhood, led by Professor Vinter. First, we walked around a bit of the streets as Professor Vinter showed us the Georgian style architecture that many of the buildings share. The British Museum was next on our tour…
Professor Vinter Giving a Tour
Walking Up to the Museum
It was an awe-inspiring building. The immense columns framed the entrance and seemed to recall a bygone era, when British imperialism reigned supreme. We wandered inside, and the building became even more impressive. The incredible ceiling just took my breath away.
The surrounding neighborhood provided even more ingrained history and astounding architecture for our group. Professor Vinter showed us one particular building that I couldn't pull my eyes away from… The building that inspired George Orwell's 1984 and its infamous Ministry of Truth.
WAR IS PEACE – FREEDOM IS SLAVERY – IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
It is becoming a little surreal, walking these streets that are so rich in history and culture. It seems like one can barely walk a block without running into some amazing artifact that lies hidden in plain sight. The city is a living, breathing museum, where time flows, yet never moves. Londoners reside in the past, present, and future. I can't help but think that Orwell would find it amusing that one of his most famous novels has almost become prophesy; as shown below, Big Brother Is Watching.
We continued to tour around the city, seeing more architecture and taking a tour of the International Student's House. (The school paid for our membership, and it looks awesome! Great activities, facilities, food, etc. Also, it looks like an amazing opportunity to meet fellow students from around the world.) More architecture pictures below:
After a long day of touring and walking, we were ready to get home and just relax! However, we first had to navigate the streets to our grocery store, pick up some more supplies, and then figure out the bus route. We successfully completed that, and arrived home pretty exhausted. However, I made some homemade pesto and garlic Mac and Cheese. It was a pretty big hit with that flatmates and was exactly what we needed after a long day!
Mac and Cheese