Touched down and all settled in! It was a long night/day, but I'm here!
The flight... that god awful nine hour flight. It wasn't bad when I got there, but a couple hours in I was dead. But of course I can't fall asleep on a plane so it was just great. I managed to watch four movies and two episodes of a show... while sitting next to a Mexican who kept offering me mentos. Cool. Anyways, I made it through! The sun was just coming up as we hit England, and boy was it pretty! The sky was so pink with the clouds underneath; it was beautiful. As we flew in, we flew right over Parliament and the London Eye. AMAZING! I tried to spot out our flat from the sky but of course that was impossible.
When we landed, I went through customs/immigration, which was the easiest thing I've ever done, and then met my ISA people! I was the last one there so we got to the bus right then, thankfully! One of my flatmates, Devyn, had to wait about 2 hours at the airport for everyone to get there; talk about brutal. The bus ride wasn't too long, but it was nice to look around, even though it was 8:30 in the morning (3:30 American time!), and I hadn't been asleep yet. Everything here just looks London-y. The buildings are all brick, very narrow streets, double deckers everywhere. I love it! After a little drive, our flat was the first to be dropped off. As the cute little bus driver unloaded our suitcases, he whispered to us "This one's the best. You've got the best location." Which made me even more excited. We walked in for a little tour of our flat, which consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen, with a cute little balcony in the back. It was much bigger than I thought and it is SO so nice! After the tour, the ISA leader took us out on the streets for a little tour around the block. What we didn't realize was that around the block was Parliament, Big Ben, the river, etc etc etc. We are literally in the center of London. It really is the greatest location and I could not have asked for a better place!
After the tour, we unpacked and waited for the other 2 to come to the place. We unpacked our stuff and ended up taking a little cat nap. It was way too hard to stay awake! But they eventually made it and the four of us went out exploring a bit. We went out for some some dinner, got some groceries for the next couple of days, and walked around the city a bit. It was nice, but we were all so tired so we headed home pretty early for bed.
Today was orientation at the ISA office, where we were told basically the same things from Saturday, and then given a tour of London in our very own double decker. What we found out was that it was the same bus that Kate Middleton rode, and my flatmate Heather and I were actually in the seat she sat in! It was very funny but pretty cool too. We drove around London for two hours where our tour guide told us about all the different buildings, adding in what felt like as many Harry Potter references as she could. It was so nice to see the city and remember some places/things that we want to do later on. I'm about 100% positive that we won't get to everything, but you can bet we're going to try!
These first two days have been great. The plugs, adapters, converters, or whatever they are called, are going to be something to figure out and get used to, but can I really complain when I'm living in the heart of London?