I leave for London in 3 days. 3 days. I'm having a hard time believing it myself. Traveling abroad has always been something that I would do one day, but now that day is Tuesday. I feel super unprepared. I'm moving into a new condo before I leave but I've been homeless since yesterday morning because the current residents haven't moved yet. Thus all of my belongings, including what I'm taking to London are currently shoved in my car, making it a tad difficult to pack. I did get a head start on my homework though. I know, I know, I'm a nerd. But I have to read six novels in six weeks while I'm there. And that's just for one class. I'm definitely going to get as much done before I leave as possible because who wants to be sitting around reading when they're in another country.
We had a prep class this semester so that they could tell us all the rules and how to be safe and whatnot before we actually get to Europe. Let me tell you, there are some crazy rules we have to abide by and some crazy things that could happen to us. First of all, one of the rules they emphasis a lot is no dating. anyone. not the other people in our study abroad group (though with 6 boys and 35 girls going, the odds aren't that good anyways). not the people in Europe. no one. I actually don't have a huge problem with this rule. I mean it's not like I'm going to England so that I can date. That would be stupid. I just think it's kind of weird. When you're going to school at BYU, all anyone can tell you is to go out and date and get married. Sometimes I just want to shout in their face that I do not want to get married yet. But then as soon as you get into a BYU Study Abroad program, they flip the switch and tell you that you are absolutely not allowed to date. One of our directors, Professor Miller, thinks this rule is dumb too. He told us we should fall in love, just don't let him know about it. haha I think my least favorite part of this prep class though was safety day. Talking about how to be safe in London actually doesn't make me feel safe at all. It makes me feel like I'm going to die. Ok, maybe not die, but definitely get robbed. According to Mr. Safety Man, London has one of the highest rates of petty crime. Now granted, this is better than the highest rate of murders or rapes, but still not so comforting. We were warned about getting on the tubes and having stuff stolen and getting our bags ripped off our shoulders while walking down the street. I'm not so much a fan of this. I would really prefer to be told that everything is going to be just fabulous. So then my paranoid self had to ask one of my coworkers, who happens to be from London, how safe it actually is. And basically, Mr. Safety Man exaggerated a lot. My coworker happily informed me that it was the same as any other big city like NYC or SF. Well folks, good news. Not only have I been to NYC multiple times, but I live in SF. I think I got the safety part down already.
So this same class also made us memorize the geographical location of London's various neighborhoods and all of the counties in England. Here's the thing, I don't even know that information about my own city. I thought this was a pretty ridiculous demand. But since then, I have seen London and England in a totally different way. I've been watching some British movies (because sometimes I just can't stop thinking about London) and I love being able to know exactly where they are when they say different locations. In one movies I was watching, An Education (which is a very strange movie by the way), they take a trip to Oxford. Now, everyone knows about Oxford but I had not idea previous to this class where it actually was. Somewhere in England was all I knew. But now I know that it's west of London, about an hour away. You probably could care less about this information, but I feel a lot smarter knowing where the heck people really are in England when they say they are going somewhere.
Oh there is so much I could say about London before I actually get there but I don't want to bore you too much. Soon, there will be fabulous stories to share and lots of pictures to show. But for now, it still feels kind of like a crazy dream...