The clouds move so fast in London. They fly and swoop and change with every passing second in a way I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world, a characteristic mutability. I am sitting in the atrium of Chandler House, my new academic home at UCL and already since I’ve written this sentence two more have already eased by overheard. Today they are white and puffy, but diffuse. Lit up by the early autumn afternoon sun, driven on by the breeze which is barely perceptible here at the level of mortals.
This first week of classes was frenetic, hard work, and more than a tad overwhelming. I feel rather confused as to how I am able to guess so precisely what in the hell is going on in my wide variety of modules that cover all the major areas of Linguistics. Thus far, Pragmatics and Phonetics are the favourites…though I am apparently best at guessing in Syntax. Some underlying rationale in my brain appears to intuitively know the proper button to push on the clicker, even if I have no conscious idea of what role SAI/SVI play in Dutch. I assure you, I barely know more about those acronyms than you do.
I’ll admit, I never saw myself living here. I had a blatant bias after studying abroad the very first time in Perugia over six years ago…why would one ever want to live abroad in an English-speaking country? And London is so expensive! It’s such a massive city and it’s dangerous and it’s got terrible food. And it rains constantly. More than I’d like to admit, I probably steered students away from studying in London when I was a study abroad advisor, pushing them toward cheaper, “more foreign” options that would “challenge” them more.
I didn’t know that I didn’t know the real London.