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Getting Familiar with a New Place

Posted by Kobby on 23 August 2008

Preparing for the start of term has turned out to be an exercise in familiarising myself with the mundane. I arrived in London three weeks before the start of class to give myself time to get acclimated to life in a new place. After arriving at 8AM with little sleep during my 10-hour flight from Los Angeles, I had a brilliant idea to beat jetlag:  fight sleep during the day, easily fall asleep at night, and awake the next morning on GMT. I failed spectacularly, passing out mid-meal during lunch with a friend.

I've had to adapt in several ways. I've swapped my Nissan and LA traffic for an Oyster card and commuters thronging London's tube systems. Where I once confidently strutted across roads, here, I've felt quite comical when midway through crossing a road, I've been startled by a speeding car bearing down on me from the 'wrong' direction. I've also traded the bright, sunny weather (five rainy days in two years) for four wet days in my first week in London.

Even though we take the mundane for granted, in a new place, sometimes, the smallest things can be the most jarring, and I'm learning that by letting go of what I'm used to, I'm taking an important step towards opening my mind on a bigger level.

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