Published: June 25th 2012June 24th 2012
These past couple of days have gone by in such a blur. It's hard to believe that it's been two weeks since I left home to come to this amazing city, and just about that long since I've decided that I'm moving here after college. I'm loving everything about London--there's always something to do and the atmosphere is just so much more laid back than America's.
My first week as an intern at Openreach (British Telecom) is officially over. I've learned a lot about process engineering and systems management, as well as met a lot of really cool people. Also, my office is on the 10th floor with a 360 degree view of the heart of London, which is always a plus! I'm also starting to recognize people on my walk to work--there is one woman who reads the newspaper everyday as she walks and I almost collide with her everyday (as I'm sure about 100 other people do). There's another guy who is in a kilt everyday, and he definitely noticed me staring at him the first time I saw him. He was staring back at me though because I walk to work everyday in full blown business attire,
minus my running shoes which I then swap for flats or heels right before we round the final turn to work. However, I've noticed that almost everyone does that here--it's especially funny to see men in three piece suits walking to work in tennis shoes! I fit in pretty well with my mismatched shoes though and it definitely makes the 2 mile plus walk to work in the mornings a little bit more bearable!
Exhausted after a five day work week (oh how I miss Babson four day weeks!) I was looking forward to taking it easy on Saturday but I'm so glad I didn't. Four of us hopped on a train to Eastbourne which is on the Southern Coast of England. It was by far my favorite thing I've done since I've been here, which is saying a lot considering all that we've done. It was a beautiful hike and a really cool beach town area. We walked in between the ocean and a bunch of flowers for probably about half of a mile, which was interesting because you had the smell of the sea but at the same time there was a strong scent from the flowers.
This was what we were walking away from on the beginning of our hike. The view was beautiful all the way to the top and back!
Once we got to the top of the cliffs, we started getting a little brave and wandered towards the edge. I was so glad my mother wasn't there because she was having heart attacks when I went to the Grand Canyon five years ago--she hated it any time I got within 100 feet of a cliff. My heart was definitely pounding though when we got near the edge and because of eroison some of the ground started crumbling! (Just kidding Mom).
Today we met up with Professor Soybel who just flew in from Boston. She's here for the week to check up on our internships--making sure we're actually being helpful and learning a bunch of things, but also to secure internships for next year's honors students. Soybel took us to Windsor Castle which is about an hour's train ride outside of London. It was beautiful but after walking around so much the day before, my feet got tired pretty fast. Luckily, we went out for Thai food afterwards and it was a lot of sitting and waiting for the food to come, which gave my feet a chance to rest. The Thai restaurant was actually really good. We
Don't Look Mom
Standing at the edge of the cliff with the lighthouse in the background. These cliffs were huge--that lighthouse is huge up close!
also had Thai iced tea which tasted like bubble milk tea with out the bobas. The amount of international food choices in London makes the Silicon Valley look horrible. I've been to two really good Thai places so far, in addition to an excellent Italian, American, and Indian place. I'm also proud of myself for ordering things I usually wouldn't get back home, with the exception of my pad thai for lunch today.
After we got back home to London, we attempted laundry for the first time. It makes the US look so cheap when you realize it's 3.20 pounds to do laundry--which basically means 5 bucks for a load of laundry. Ridiculous! Afterwards, we went to a pub to watch the England VS Italy soccer game. It was the best end to an awesome weekend minus the fact that England lost in the penalty kicks after a double OT. The vibe in the pub was awesome--every time something happened the entire pub would start screaming and swearing. There was one guy who was sitting on the floor of the pub who would randomly burst out into song or start saying things when there was nothing happening in the
game. Anyways, I don't think I've heard so many curse words in my entire life, or seen more people packed into a pub.
While it was a blast being in the pub, watching this many soccer games has made me miss playing rugby and I can't wait until I get to South Africa so I can play again. Unlike rugby, there are only brief scenes of high action. More importantly though, I've never seen another sport that has the sportsmanship and respect that rugby does. In the sport of rugby, only the captains can talk to the refs, not even the coaches. Plus, they must be called "sir" or "ma'am" depending on the ref, although most female refs are called "sir" 24/7 anyways. And, unlike soccer, the opposing teams are kind to each other during the game, and best friends afterwards, even at the professional level.
And if that weekend was not awesome enough, at work today we got a phone call from one of our bosses who had been on "holiday" last week so we had yet to meet her. She is officially my favorite person in the entire world. She called us today to make sure
we were okay and we spent the whole time just getting to know each other. She asked us a lot of questions about what we were interested in, and then told us we could call her at anytime of day, no matter what, which was really nice. Then, to end the conversation and talk about work, she told us we'd get to travel around England a lot more. We were so excited about it she had to interrupt us to say she was taking us to the Olympic venues to see everything before games started and to meet the team that has been working on this for the past couple of years to get ready. And I've been on cloud nine ever since.