I’ve been in London almost a month, enough time to learn the systematic tube and the illogical bus system. I’ve been lost countless times and retained all my American sensibilities. It’s odd that I’ve managed to carve a routine in this cosmopolitan world without drip coffee and ice cubes, but my experience is morphing from vacationing to becoming a genuine Londoner.
My program has class three days a week, mornings only. We have various excursions every week, but it still leaves loads of time for personal exploration. In the past month, I’ve seen pretty much every free museum and visited most of the major touristy things. Now my days are filled with more local activities: picnicking in the various parks, writing papers in local coffee shops, and eating family dinners with my British cousins.
As conventional as it is, my favorite part of my day is visiting the Central London YMCA. At UF, I take advantage of Rec Sports’ extensive facilities and gym classes. Before I came to London, I was worried that too many scones without any Total Body or Pilates classes would leave me with the study abroad sixteen. However, the YMCA has a student membership that for only 35 pounds a month, including classes. It was the best 105 pounds I’ve spent. Not only have I managed to compensate for too many afternoon teas and newfound love of Indian curry, but I’ve managed to mingle with local Londoners.
I’ve discovered that Brits go hard. The first class I did was circuit training with a gorgeous Adonis wearing extremely short shorts, surprisingly common among all ages of men. After a classic 80s style warm-up of spotted dogs and jogging with our arms in the air, we started sprinting. And sprinting. And more sprinting with a break for barbells followed by…sprinting. It was both horrible and wonderful. I left feeling like a real Londoner and not feeling my legs at all.