I woke up Wednesday morning to a knock at the door. I was still sleeping, but one of my flatmates let her in. I don’t know about you all, but I don’t do well with maids. Not because they aren’t wonderful or that I’m afraid they’re going to steal something, but because I feel that my mess is my responsibility. When she started clearing the dishes we had used moments earlier for breakfast, I quickly told her if she needs anything out of the way, just tell us to move it or kick it. That’s when I discovered she was French and didn’t understand a thing I said. So she went on her merry way and took care of four 20-something girls.
This was just one of the many experiences I’ve had in the last 10 days that are very different than what I’m used to.
If I told you the transition to living in a different country an ocean away from home was easy, I’d be lying. Luckily for me, I’m surrounded by 26 other students in the exact same position.
Monday marked my first day working in London. At 9:55 a.m., I arrived at Lumiere London, my internship for the next three and a half months. What I walked into was NOT what I expected. Apparently, over the last month or so, the beautiful photography studio I was expecting was no longer the home of Lumiere London. Carlos (my adorable little photographer boss) and the rest of the companies he owns/works with, moved to a larger and better space. Unfortunately, the construction wasn’t really close to being finished.
I went in Monday expecting a short interview and schedule set up. That turned into working for seven hours with the office manager, Alessandro, and updating their entire website. When I told them I knew how to use WordPress, I realized too late that blog WordPress versus professional website WordPress are very different things. But thanks to the MU j-school’s “learn by doing” method, I figured it out.
My second day at Lumiere London, I was told to bring clothes I could get dirty. I did. We spent the majority of the day organizing and cleaning the dust/dirt-filled studio space. Every surface was disgusting. And with no heat in the studio and 30º F outside, it made for a chilly day. But a good one. This was my first day to really get to know Carlos and Alessandro. We were able to goof off, talk about backgrounds, and work peacefully/jam out to my Spotify playlist. So an all-around solid day.
On Wednesday, we had our first day of classes. We have two classes on Wednesday beginning at 2 p.m. and going until 7:30 p.m., one being an international journalism/media class and the other our internship seminar, both taught by Steve Rice. (If you’ve taken J2150 at MU, you’ve probably heard of him.)
Now, if I’m being completely honest (and this is my blog so of course I’m being completely honest), I was NOT looking forward to having Steve as our professor. But I have to tell you, Steve is really cool. And nice. And a good teacher. And loves his family. He’s like…a real person. WHATTT? Who knew?
So we had our class introduction, etc. For the seminar, we just gave presentations on each of our first days of working in London. It was amazing to hear what kind of work my peers were already doing in their first two days. It really seems like CAPA (our program) knew what it was doing when they picked out these internships for us. Everyone is genuinely interested in their jobs and it’s clear they will be building great portfolios. My friend Sophia had already published a story in The Independent (kinda big deal) by the time class began.
On Thursday, we met Richard.
Richard is a hilarious little British man that teaches our British culture class. He is so funny and as obsessed with One Direction as I am. He even told us Harry Styles owns a house a mile away from our flat so if I end up home before April 29th, just know it probably had to do with stalking charges…
Our afternoon with Richard was great and I must say, I really love my classes. We get to adventure through the city of London. With Steve, we’ll be going to BBC and The Guardian, etc. while Richard will be taking us to museums and curry restaurants (IN CLASS). I don’t know why I’m getting school credit for this stuff, but I’m cool with it.
Friday was great. It was my last day at my internship for the week, but as expected, I didn’t do much with fashion photography. Instead, I learned a bit more about the business aspect, then spent the afternoon painting the rafters with Carlos. I kind of loved it. I got to spend more time with my co-worker (kinda?) named Dan who is very British and sounds (in my opinion) a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch. He also has the perfect, stereotypically sarcastic sense of humor, which made the fact that he had to ask if I was being sarcastic at one point just that much better. (Yes. I was being sarcastic.)
The week flew by. Everything is flying by. But I have be honest. This is unlike anything I ever imagined. And there have already been a few bumps along the way. If I were to tell you that homesickness didn’t consume me the first few days and that I didn’t cry in the shower everyday for the first week we were here, I’d be lying.
I didn’t intend to make this post serious, but it’s been a little rough over the past couple of weeks away from home. As a person that suffers from anxiety on a daily basis, being in a huge city with total strangers is hard. It wasn’t until five days in that I began to feel comfortable and transition into my temporary life in London.
However, now that I’ve made the transition, I feel good. Really good. The sights, the sounds, the smell (meh…maybe not the smells), the life all make this experience so unique. I have 99 days left before I make the long journey home, and I intend to spend every minute of it exploring and educating myself on what the world has to offer.
(PS: I totally went poop in the Stonehenge bathroom.)