So remember how in my last blog I mentioned that applying for a visa is really stressful and difficult? Well, I discovered that the process of waiting for the visa is actually worse.
When I sent in my passport to the UK Consulate in New York City, I opted not to pay the additional fee of nearly $200 to expedite the process because I thought I had plenty of time. When I had not received the visa a week before my flight was scheduled, I started to get nervous. And little did I know, there is absolutely no way to contact the consulate. No direct email addresses, no phone numbers, nothing. I ended up calling the only service offered, which was an outsourced phone help line run in India, and they told me that there was nothing I could do and I might have to reschedule my flight. They also told me that the number of days the processing could take were unpredictable. I never got an email saying that my application was finished, and I was stressing over possibly being late to my program in London. Then, on the last possible day I received the passport and visa in the mail! I am so extremely, incredibly lucky.
But anyway, I ended up having a remarkably easy packing process. My suitcases were well under the weight limit and there is plenty of room for souvenirs. I discovered an awesome packing technique on Pinterest that really helped me. All you have to do is roll your clothes and then put them in a big Ziplock bag. This saves SO MUCH space in your suitcase!
The first couple days here have been a whirlwind (in a good way). Our group has been navigating the tube throughout London and seeing nearly all of the major sites, all while attempting to recover from jetlag! I have seen The London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus,Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge(including the crown jewels!) and the Tower of London all in a few short days! I definitely will be re-visiting these sites because I am absolutely in love with this city. We also were able to explore a few pubs and that was really fun too. Our internships start on Monday and I am excited to start working as well. I'm so thrilled to see what else lies in store for me here!
Inside the Tower of London
Big Ben and Parliament: