It’s been just over 50 hours since I arrived in London, but I have already taken a liking to where I am, the Hampstead Residence, and to the inner parts of the city, where I’ll be studying.
On the one side of the Hampstead Residence, walking for one minute will land you amidst Aston Martins, Jaguars and even the odd Rolls Royce, in an area of architectural magnificence. Rich, peaceful and quiet are the adjectives one might attribute to this zone.
On the other side, around Finchley Road, a squirrel hides from the busy traffic, seeking refuge in the green areas. The architecture is no longer grand but more heterogeneous, and during the 15-minute walk separating the Hampstead Residence from Finchley Road Tube Station (10 if you keep a good pace), residential areas mingle with shops.
Supermarkets are generally also 15 minutes away at a “student” walking pace, which makes for good exercise if done regularly.
Among the students one meets, many Hampstead residents come from Britain, Ireland, India and North America. Continental Europeans are easily outnumbered. While a great many like to party, I believe that my room is far enough from the bar of the Hampstead Residence so as to avoid unnecessary disturbance. Time will tell.
Saturday was a day of discovery, meeting dozens of new people and walking around Hampstead to find an array of stores, from Sainsbury’s to Tesco’s, from Homebase (akin to the Belgian Brico) to The Carphone Warehouse.
I was most disappointed to find out, at approximately 2-3 a.m. on the Sunday, that my living space had been invaded by my greatest foe, the mosquito. May I soon defeat him!
After a morning of discovering new Tesco stores on this Sunday with two friends, we were shown Hampstead in the briefest of manners, where our student guide spoke quietly to a group of many dozens of students and was thus inaudible.
After we were set loose to devour the population around Hampstead Tube Station, the aforementioned friends and myself went to Heath Park, which turned out to be not only immensely huge, but also insanely confusing, as its vastness and many hills removed any sense of direction, if people had one to begin with. It took us a good half hour to find our way back once we had realised that we weren’t sure of where we were going, too proud to retrace our steps. After all, where would be the adventure in that?
After another eventful evening, I had to get up early for enrolment, which for us LLM students (Master of Laws) took place from 9 a.m. onwards on the Monday. Good fun, because I got to meet a whole array of different people, most of which I am sure I’ll be seeing in the coming months.
The banks here have the strange policy of only accepting to open student accounts for you upon reception of a letter from KCL stating your local address, your followed course, … Nothing from any King’s Residence is accepted, it seems. Basically, they don’t want our money right away. Is that it?
And now, I have got internet access, although the process of hooking up to the IT services is not yet finished: the registration server for our King’s usernames has been flooded this past hour or so, which means that it is unavailable. E-mail and such therefore don’t come through, it seems. Hopefully that’ll be sorted out soon.
Tomorrow I have my first 20-minute introductions to two subjects of interest to me, namely “Regulation & Technology” and “Intellectual Property”. The law geek in me says “can’t wait”, while the human in me says “here we go again” with a touch of melancholy, a zest of nostalgia and the hint of a giggle.