Raymond’s first two posts are posted together. Global Ed apologies for the delay.
London School of Economics and Political Science
This year sucks. Everyone had high hopes for 2021 after the rather uneventful year that was 2020. Many of my plans were foiled as 2020 raged against humanity; among those interrupted plans was my intention to travel to London where I would spend a full ten months studying economics and management in the prestigious environment that is the London School of Economics and Political Science. This was removed from my decision set in August due to the escalation in Covid-19 restriction and regulation; I was rather upset to say the least.
However, 2021 was my bastion of hope. Once I made it through the droll and monotonous time of the cooler months in Farmville, I would finally be able to hit the droll, wet, cold streets of London. As the date approached my excitement grew. I bought a new coat, planned my route from the airport to my apartment in King’s Cross, and even began to reach out to other students who shared my situation. However, the city shut down completely just ten days before my flight intended to depart. My plan to go to pubs, spend time in city parks, and meet people from across the globe would again be delayed.
Since I received that email instructing me to not to travel to London until at least February, I have made great use of my time. For example, these days I wake up before 6am in order to attend my courses that are scheduled in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This may seem rough, but it is much better than the folks in China having to be in class at 2:30am. After my classes are finished by noon, I spend at least thirty minutes envisioning myself being rained on while walking down a relatively clean street. Then I go to the local gym that I have been a member of since I was in high school and finish my day with a light load of about 150 pages of reading.
With time, things often get better. This is the case with my current situation in London. Although the entire population has seemed to be slumbering since December, we are finally leaving our caves more and more. Time has been moving rather slowly and studying seems to be what makes it so. My days since the end of my Spring Term have been filled with going from my one-bedroom accommodation located on the second floor of my building to the thirteenth floor of my building. It is on the thirteenth floor where the “Common Room” is located. This is where those who are dedicated to studying go to escape their bedrooms and complete work. I like the thirteenth floor because I am able to look out over the beautiful London skyline.
Visiting Buckingham Palace
The second floor is rough living. My window stares into the construction site of a new skyscraper apartment building that is unnervingly noisy. The unpredictable racket of the machines and methodical placement of material can be satisfying to watch sometimes, but my goodness it is loud.
Sometimes I visit the LSE campus, and the trip is always lovely. I’ll walk from my large accommodation in the middle of King’s Cross to the St. Pancras train station. On the way I’ll pass through the Coal Drops yard, a newly gentrified area that boasts quaint shops and boutique restaurants that recently opened for outdoor seating. Once to the busy station, I hop on the Piccadilly line train to Hoblorn Station and walk about three blocks to the campus. LSE’s campus contains a lovely student center and a life sucking library that according to rumor occasionally has mice sightings on the bottom floor, but that is hearsay… I think. Sometimes I meet interesting people in the student center and go for a cold drink in a park after a day of studying, but my best friends all live in my accommodation in Urbanest. About once a week we throw a bit of a dinner party where a legal sized support bubble group comes together to cook a meal and share some wine and conversation. Now that restaurants are open, we have shifted to going out to eat instead. Although people seem to love the restaurants here, I always have the thought that I can cook better than most of the meals I have been served (excluding most of the Indian food I have had so far – it’s amazing).
The more time I spend working on my final papers and preparing for my final exams that run through the second week of June, the more I miss the atmosphere at Hampden-Sydney and my lifelong friends there. Living in the city makes me miss the joy of driving my pickup truck down backroads and sitting around a bonfire with the boys. I have replaced long drives with long walks through the concrete city and bonfires with the blue light of a computer screen. Anyone who has taken econ101 at Hampden-Sydney knows that there are substitutes for everything, but some things are just not the same.