Three weeks of travel, networking and fish & chips (I)

Photo by Kristina Kasparian

You’ve never been to London? How could that be?”

I’ve had to answer variations of that same question – posed each time with the same sentiment of surprise – on numerous occasions over the last couple of years. As an avid traveler and as someone who spent nearly every weekend of her European Master’s degree jetting off to another capital city, it amazed people (and me) that I had still not been to London, or to any other city in the UK for that matter.

And so, because fate kept London away from me a little while longer – until the right opportunity would present itself for me to be London-bound —the city quickly became a dream for me. It was finally this July, on my way to a summer school in my field of research, when I would finally have a ticket to London in my name.

And let me tell you – I was excited! I read the Lonely Planet London cover to cover (those of you who know me well can attest that I am a very slow reader who rarely makes it to the back cover). I blared London Calling at least once a day (much to the dismay of my husband, who hates hearing the same song over and over again). I even bought myself a Keep Calm and Carry On travel journal in anticipation. By the time I was scheduled to leave, I knew a lot about the city, except about how it would FEEL.

The plan was to spend four days in London, before heading on to Bangor, in Wales, to attend the International Summer School on Bilingualism for two weeks. After a very busy few months of meticulously designing my experiments for my PhD research and having to solve one challenge after another, I was looking forward to taking a break from my routine and life at the department, and hoped to come back refreshed and inspired.

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