Out and about

The life of a student is a complicated one, especially when in a place away from home. You want to work hard and excel but you also need to take in the sights and sounds, uncertain whether you shall get another opportunity to indulge.

Linda is no different. She looks at her to do list and then turns to her ‘to visit’ list soon after. Imagine her joy when she realised some of the must see places were next door to her residence!

When Linda was certain she was going to London, she shared her address with her brother. He looked it up and exclaimed what a great location it was. Filled with anxiety and related emotions at the time, she did not fully comprehend what he meant, until Sunday.

On Sunday, she arranged to meet her brother’s friend James.* He had agreed to take her to church, and show her some sights.

The walk to church was practically 5 minutes, a great relief for her knowing her Sundays were sorted. Westminster cathedral stood there, in all its grandeur and poise. Staring would be for later. First the mass.

It was a beautiful sermon that recreated Jesus’ baptism and its meaning to the lives of Christians. The message may have not been very new, but its delivery was.

After mass, the two took a short tour of the chapels and James wondered aloud, why African churches did not also adopt the concept of little chapels within the cathedrals.

With a variety of restaurants to choose from, they settled for an Italian restaurant called “Zizzi.” Not in the mood to experiment, Linda ordered a pizza, as did her host.

PP

It turned out to be the right decision as the pizza was scrumptious. The olive oil availed to use with reckless abandon was a plus.

What followed was nothing short of a little adventure. The walk to various sights was like a scene from a movie, or perhaps more than one. From Buckingham palace to Hyde park to the Houses of Parliament and a quick stop at Downing street, it became increasingly improbable for Linda to keep her eyes from widening (or her jaw from dropping)

Piccadily circus, surrounded by theatres, cinemas and restaurants offered a great atmosphere filled with energy and lights, lots of them. This was followed by a walk through Leicester square which houses several theatres that are often used for movie Premieres (All those red carpet moments seen on t.v suddenly struggled to be remembered)

leicester-square-09

big ben

As James and Linda walked returned from their view of Big Ben and the London eye, Linda couldn’t help but make out the sounds of Sam Smith’s, “stay with me.” When they turned around, a gentleman, with chubby cheeks, probably in his twenties, stood there belting out the lyrics, guitar in hand..and guitar case filled with coins. His voice was sultry and seemingly effortless.

She asked James if they could stay and watch. Before long, a small crowd formed. His rendition of Passenger’s ‘Let her go’ was tear-worthy (in a good way) At this point it was 4 degrees and the wind was unamused too. They left shortly after this song. This was not before James passed Linda a pound to tip the talented young man. It was quite possibly the best pound she’d ‘spent’ since she got there.

They started to walk back. Next day being a work/school day.  Time seemed to have stopped in Linda’s head.

At a cinema en route, they stopped for warm beverages. Linda looked at the cinema’s prices. Movie at £18??Sssh…Surely Channing Tatum ought to give you at least a hug during the movie at that rate, no?

It was quite difficult to do much when Linda got back to her residence. She ate the leftovers of her pizza and gave thanks to the Lord for opportunities, kind acquaintances and life.

Images : Google

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Free food!

The day started out cold and rainy. All Linda could think of were the excuses people would be making to cut work or make their way out of appointments back at home.

She found a colleague and they set off for the train station.

Controller at the train station : Are you Kenyan?

Linda: No, Ugandan

Guy:  *In heavy British accent* Ogamba ki?

Linda: *Wide grin* Gendi mani….

The ride to the University was smooth and fast.

The venue for the ‘new’ student’s meeting was a bevy of activity as Linda settled in her seat.

She said hello to her neighbour who happened to be Australian. As they got to talking he asked her if she knew the singer Roberto and if he was from Uganda 😀

Linda: The one who sang ‘amarula?’

Him: Yes! Is he Ugandan?

Linda: I wish. He is Zambian

Him: I love that song!

Great ice breaker. Before long, they were catching up like old friends.

With a few hours to spare before the next session, Linda and her friends took a stroll to pick up their student IDs. The campus seems to have a new building that pops up every other minute.

At the orientation, the group had been told about a gentleman who serves free lunch daily and had been toying with the idea of trying it out.  Free food in London? Why not?! Some of the other students were sceptical but Linda was happy to try anything at least once.

By 12pm, the queue was filling up. They were curious about the food for that day’s serving and quickly joined in.

It turned out to be rice, some bread, mushroom sauce and even strawberries! (for dessert perhaps?) The portions were quite big too. Best of all, it was hot!

hot food

 

Daniel, by far the funniest guy in the lot, started to exclaim that he would not buy any food for as long as he was at the University. He started mapping out a route in which he would head to school daily, with or without lectures just for the food. Daniel even vowed to get a seat in the library with perfect view of the serving area so as to arrive on time.

This is the same guy who earlier said he had  plain ugali (posho) for breakfast that day because he was unsure when his next meal would come 😀

Linda could not get over the guy who cooks and serves this food and made a mental note to get him to tell his story, at a later stage. If this happens, we get to ‘hear’ it here 🙂

 

More next time.