Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. – Samuel Johnson
I am more than in love with this city already. The people at John Dodgson House are lovely and welcoming, but before I get to all of the love washing over me for this city, let’s go over getting to John Dodgson.
I flew into Gatwick airport with two other people from the program. We took the Thameslink train straight to St. Pancras station for only £7, or so. The trip takes about an hour and it allows you to get your first real glimpse of England. The suburbs were beautiful and lush, with historical architecture layered with modern architecture. I was happy-thrilled to watch Croydon, Blackfriars (where you can see the Tower bridge through gaps in the station wall), and Farringdon roll by between the patches of trees and fresh, wild growing flowers.
St. Pancras was abuzz with other tourist, reuniting families, and casual shoppers, in a great hall filled with the afternoon light. I was more than excited, and after waiting more than an hour to get through customs the dorms were only a few minutes walk away. The city was so alive, and so vibrant. It was like coming home even though I’d never been there. We traveled as a band of students to the dorms, check in, and then I have the pleasure of throwing my body into a wonderful bed.
Buuuuuttttt, of course, that got boring after about three hot minutes, so I decided to find some food. I ended up having chips with melted cheese at Mabel’s Tavern, where I learned my first lesson in being in London. No one comes to you in a pub to take your order. Instead you belly up to the bar, ask for your meal, pay and sit. The chips were lovely, and the interior was fantastic.