Published: July 5th 2009July 5th 2009
This week has been one of the craziest ever here at TASIS. Thursday night I went down to the pub with some friends. Our quiet evening ended when a faculty member came back to tell us there was smoke everywhere outside. As we ran down the street we truly thought the main building (housing a lot of boys) was on fire. Turns out it was a hut, but nonethelesss it was close enough to evacuate the area, bring about 100 firemen, inspectors, brigades, newsmen and I don't know what else, down to the school. As it turns out here in the UK, fire extinguishers are filled with water and firemen don't really get called to fires very often so it took them about 15 minutes to get there. With the drought here, the fire caught on quickly and truly could have caused even worse damage. Luckily the teachers managed to hold it back enough to stop the fire from spreading to the other buildings and causing complete chaos. Everything managed to settle down but a lot was lost in the hut and three boys were expelled for smoking and causing the fire.
The next day took me to the hospital
... a Ukrainian boy hit is head on the slip and slide and went slighty (very) crazy. I met my friends down at the hospital and basically walked in an found them. No one stopped me and and we were all allowed to just "hang out" by the CT room. We saw a half naked man hooked up to his IV walking around by himself with a coke. And believe it or not, even hospitals don't have AC ... it must have been 100 degrees in there. The casting room actually had to yell out for a fan because the casts wouldn't set in the heat. After a few hours we started acting quite goofy and found a gurny with Thomas the Train on it ... thus the picture of course. I then went to the McDonalds with a Ukranian with a concussion (who kept asking me what day it was). A bit bizarre really.
The next morning one of the teachers called saying he couldn't walk. I again went back to the hospital. I went inside and asked for a wheelchair and was told to "find one." Well, I did just that and then realized this guy was
too big for me to get into the ancient wheel chair and actually move into the hospital. I was told that they weren't "allowed" to help me. So there I was trying to wheel a big british guy in a wheel chair that only pulled into an ER that was 100 degrees. It all ended up working out in the end ... but the next kid who broke his ankle during football, well, I made someone else drive to the hospital on that one. I'd about had enough of socialized medicine.
Yesterday I spent the day with my friend Steve at the Natural History Museum. Incredible, amazing, fantastic place! This led of course to shopping in Knightsbridge and Harrods. I have found that I am so comfortable in London these days ... it is the one city that really excites me over and over again. There is always something new to see, streets to wander and and areas that I have never explored. I can actually give people directions when I am stopped on the street.
Sometimes I think back to the first day I ever set foot in Knightsbridge. My friend Tiffany took me (after a trip
to the London Dungeon) and I was so impressed at how much she knew about the area. I now feel like I am on the other side ... looking at the excitement in teachers eyes as they first set down in London and are seeing things for the first time makes me love the city even more. I spent a few hours in a park on saturday ... just sitting. As most of you know, I don't "sit" ... I'm not sure I know how to sit still and just "be". Yet here for some reason I can spend an afternoon just watching the world go by and being grateful that I am a part of it.
There are more photos below