Day 1- 8.30 am
I'm getting ready (and running a little late) when there is a knock at the door. Bewildered as to who on earth is calling at this time of the morning, I open the door with caution. It's a man wanting to check the gas meter. Having told him that I have no idea where the gas meter is, he glances at his little machine, informs me that it is in the kitchen and politely asks if he can come in and look for it. So much for a peaceful morning...Having been delayed, I opt for the quicker mode of transport on my way to university- tube rather than bus- then almost wish I hadn't after having to fork out £6.80 for a day travelcard. I spend the day getting lost and standing in queues. When I arrive home, I'm shattered and it's only 5.30 pm.
The day goes suprisingly smoothly until I try to cath the bus home. I know that I need to catch the 91 so, like the logical person I am, I stand at the 91 bus stop at Euston station. The bus comes, I hop on and 15 minutes later find myself heading out of central London towards Trafalgar Square. I ask the bus driver is he is going anywhere near my road. He gives me a strange look and tells me that the next stop is the last one. I quickly get off, cross the road and ask the bus driver on this side if he's going anywhere near my road. "Other side, darlin'," I'm told. I sigh, get off, wander around and eventually find myself on the right bus. As we pass Euston station, I notice that there are two 91 bus stops- C and E- going in opposite directions. I make a mental note to wait at C next time.
In an attempt to save some cash, I catch the bus this morning. I settle down, waiting to be taken to Euston station. Suddenly at King's Cross, the bus driver calls out 'all change, all change!' I ask the bus driver why he's suddenly cutting his route short. "Look ahead," he tells me, "it's King's Cross." "Yes I know that!" I exclaim. "Just wait for the next bus," he says, and drives off. A random man turns to me and says with an evil grin, "Oh, if you don't have a travel card or an Oyster card, you gonna have to pay again!" Thankfully, the next bus driver accepts my receipt, and I don't have to pay again. I decide to get an Oyster card all the same, which is easier said than done. Having read all the leaflets the tube station has to offer on the subject of Oyster cards, I finally understand what type of Oyster card I need, and where to get it.
When I get on the bus this morning, I reach past the lady infront who is searching for change and beep my Oyster card on the touch pad like everyone else. Now I feel truly christened as a Londoner.
I arrive at the end of my first working week in London, and I am exhausted. Yet, at the same time, I feel strangely knowledgeable. Whilst I may not quite be a true Londoner- I have yet to pick up the accent- I am no longer a tourist fumbling for change or staring at a tube map for 5 minutes before understanding where to go.