This is my bed.
My bed might seem like an odd thing to write about. It’s just where I sleep, right? It’s just MY bed.
I was told time and time again in our pre-departure meetings how small our living accommodations would be in London. Fr. Soukup would say “You’ll be living in the same neighborhood as some of the royalty, you just won’t have nearly as much space as them.” He was right.
I live in a flat (apartment) with 11 people in total, and I share a bedroom with two others. 5 guys, 6 girls, 6 bedrooms (3 of which are singles, all occupied by girls, 3 bathrooms, 1 kitchen/living room, 1 couch, 6 chairs, and a long narrow hallway connecting it all. If we all want to watch TV at the same time, we can’t. If we all want to do homework at the same time (which we do get every once in a while), we can’t. Really, the only thing we can all do at the same time is sleep.
This is a huge contrast from the past two years of my life at Santa Clara. I’ve been lucky enough to have my own room with my own desk, chair, even a couch for part of the time, and also two of my very own offices (one at Santa Clara in the yearbook office and one at Adobe) with more chairs and desk space (2 desks actually) than I knew what to do with. Having my own room actually allowed me to work more often and more effectively and, ironically, to sleep less.
Now that I am in London, my single bedroom and two offices have been replaced solely by my bed actually just the top half of my bunk bed.
Since, I’m on the top and can’t reach my nightstand, I sleep with my computer and phone right next to me with their charging cords stretched over to the wall. Thankfully I haven’t knocked either of them off yet.
Though I’m making this out to be sort of an extreme, I think all of the students that are here from SCU are realizing this cultural difference of using shared space much more than personal space. I’ve done homework outside in the park, in the stairwell, at a pub, at the Imperial College Library (when I can talk the guard into a one time guest pass), and in the basement of my building. I do all of my yearbook meetings with Nellie, Samantha, and Robert via Skype either on my bedroom floor or in the stairwell. My video meetings for Adobe usually happen on my bedroom floor or in the kitchen with both computers in front of me (I’m sure the ergonomics specialists would not approve).
On top of all of these “inconveniences,” I do find this city incredibly efficient in regards to communication and transportation. When I take the tube, I rarely have to wait. There is almost always a train already in the station or approaching when I arrive. There is even WIFI in most stations that can be picked up from the train. I’ve had facebook/viber/google talk conversations on the tube by connecting for a few seconds at each station to retrieve and send messages.
This is what my “London” office usually looks like.