Friday, August 24, 2007

Settling in London

It’s been a week and a half since I am in London. And what a time it has been!

I arrived at Heathrow late on Monday evening and headed off to Russell Square for a weekly stay at the International Hall (I’ll write a comparison of that one to the International Student House in some later post, but shortly, if you can choose, pick International Hall). On Saturday I’ve signed the contract and moved to Angie’s place. Thanks to her, I’ve been saved from viewing a dozen of flats a day, like some of my classmates are doing right now. Talking of flat hunting: London Business School students organize pre-term fortnight of FlatHunters’ Pub Crawl.

What it’s like? It is two weeks of partying, meeting your future classmates (some 50-70 people show up every night), discovering new types of drinks (for instance, I tried Fruli and Pimm's, the latter is on the left), and practicing English. Yes, of course, people look for flatmates (we have nametags and those who are looking for flatmates draw a triangle on it) and share flat hunting experiences (like what agents are the best, how high the rent is this year). The strongest ones even go to a club afterwards: I know people who were doing that several nights in a row! Everyone seems to find flatmates really fast: last Tuesday there were lots of people looking for someone to share with – and most of them had flatmate when I talked to them on Wednesday.

The weather in London is rather cool and rainy (I haven’t used my umbrella during any of the previous visits – now I need it a lot and cannot help wondering if last ts I’ve only seen the “marketing” side of London, you know). But due to that I decided to go and visit some museums. So far I’ve been to the British museum (enjoyed the Asian collection there ad briefly visited others), National gallery (added Claude and Turner to the artists whose works I like) and Science museum (it’s awesome and also a paradise for kids).

What else?
  • Bought a computer – Lenovo T60 with WinXP. I’ve relied on IBM laptops all my working life and never had any problems (so far so good).
  • Opened an HSBC bank account: my appointment was scheduled a week after than my call to the bank and the whole process was nice and smooth and took about an hour.
  • Had an assessment at LBS Fitness Centre and swam my usual 3km per week.
  • Registered with the police.
  • Found out how to make free calls to Moscow.
  • Took an accounting textbook from the library and will make myself read three introductory chapters before the course start (but there are so many things happening here that I simply don’t have much time to sit and read).
  • Tried Indian food for the first time and liked it!
Despite the fact that there are still some things to do (like registering with a GP), I’m feeling "all settled".
Orientation starts next week on Monday!