The ramblings of an absent-minded doctoral student

The ramblings of an absent-minded doctoral student. Chronicling my life as I earn a PhD in history.

Monday, January 7, 2013

London Calling

Today marks Day 3 of my epic journey across the pond. But it's really the first day I've done anything. Traveling overseas for the first time was intimidating and exhausting. I also didn't realize what a cruel mistress Jet Lag could be. I arrived on Saturday around 6:40am GMT and ended up passing out straight away once we got back to the flat and had the "grand tour." I slept until about 5pm that night and then had trouble sleeping later, so over the course of a few hours I drank an entire bottle of wine whilst Skyping with A and my Kbug. I finally fell asleep but was somewhere between hung over and jet lagged when I awoke several hours later and ended up sleeping the day away again. I feared it would take me the full 8 weeks just to get adjusted! But when I awoke at 2 the next morning, my wonderful husband (6 hours behind me) decided to help me stay awake to kick the jet lag. I think it worked. Unfortunately for him, he ended up being late for work. (Sorry!)
I finally roused myself from the warmth of my bed around 10am and did the usual morning ritual (shower, make up, etc). After lunch, I headed out into the great beyond with no real direction or aim. My original intention was to find the National Archives to prepare myself for tomorrow's first day. I unintentionally went a very long and roundabout way, walking in various directions throughout Kew, across Kew Bridge over the River Thames. I ended up somewhere in Chiswick and turned around to head back in the general direction of "home." I took some roads through neighborhoods and walked along the Thames Walk. This took me through several more neighborhoods and was rather serene. I think doing the Thames Walk will be a weekly ritual (especially since there were several small pubs that looked intriguing). It allowed me to clear my head and was quite invigorating. After I reached what I assume was the end of the walk, I crossed another bridge of the Thames on the other side and found myself in another part of town. But much to my surprise I found signs for the National Archives and followed them. I found it easily enough and was overwhelmed by the size and beauty. Since it was closed today, I walked around the grounds a bit and found my way back to the main road I needed to get home. I took a detour towards Kew Gardens, stopping at the Station, saving the gardens for another day. I finally took the proper route back to the flat and took note of the various pubs, shops, and restaurants along the way. I have much exploring to do in the immediate neighboring area. I think walking around in the fresh air was exactly what I needed. Walking around and finding my way made me feel more confident about being here. And I either have an impeccable sense of direction that I wasn't keenly aware of, or I'm a very lucky traveler! Must have walked a good 11+km today! [I also found the Kew Retail mecca haha.]
Thanks again to the hubs who returned me to sanity and reminded me not only of how awesome I am, but of how much he loves and misses me. Knowing that I'm not alone in that makes me a little less weary. Tomorrow begins the venture into the archives. Wish me luck!

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