Now for a more brief summary of the next few days. Thursday was basically a relax day. I did some room cleaning, re-organized some stuff, and the whole time was listening to some videos on Human Computer Interaction (HCI). My Interaction Design course has a pre-requisite that I haven’t taken, so the professor recommended reviewing a few units from an online HCI course and such. I was too tired for ballroom that evening though.
Friday was my last day of the first week of classes. The Human Interaction Design class was much more psychology focused than I originally thought, but I’m super happy about the direction it’s going. It’s more focused on Human Human Interactions and how we communicate with each other, which is an important consideration in Interaction Design, especially with multiplayer experiences.
I also met up with my team from Monday’s class. My Design Management class is based on one giant group project, and we were randomly put into groups. I met up at the library with two of the group members, but three didn’t show up. We discovered later on that those three weren’t actually taking the class. But I’m really happy with my teammates!
When I got back to the flat after my class and meetings, I was quite exhausted. I wanted to go grocery shopping at Lidl to get some stuff for the weekend. Nick
was going to come with me, as she wanted to get some baking supplies, but then we got a text from Keisha that she and James were going to the Natural History Museum. Jamie, Nick, and I jumped on the Central line to meet up with them. Unfortunately we got there about 20 minutes before the museum closed, but it was enough time to walk through a few exhibits. First off, the Natural History Museum Building itself is just gorgeous. I don’t know my architecture, so I’m sure I’m wrong saying it looked like a Victorian style parliament building…
Afterwards we decided to all go for dinner. We took a little while to decide. That’s the issue with being hungry. The hungrier you are, the pickier you are about where to eat. At least that’s how it is for me. We were looking at different restaurants around South Kensington, which is the tube stop near all the main museums (which are all free cause London is awesome). We decided on an Italian restaurant called Carluccio’s.
However, once we sat down, I wasn’t feeling the best. I think it was a combination of exhaustion and being so busy, so right before we ordered I decided it was best if I ducked out of dinner and got some fresh air. So I went for a walk. I’m glad I decided to do that. I needed me time, and once I got away from the crowds and started wandering the pretty neighborhoods and parks my mood improved. I walked around Harrod’s, and was trying to figure out where I wanted a cheap bite to eat, but nothing struck my fancy. So I decided to head home.
I don’t recommend heading home around 7pm on a Friday evening. It was so. Crowded. Imagine public transit so packed that you are squished against everyone. Like elbow in someone’s stomach and the doors squishing closed against your body. We were packed in tight.
There were no seats of course, so I stood near the doors holding on to the hand railing along with like 15 other people. A couple stops down, I felt someone bumping against me from behind. Now the underground isn’t the smoothest transit system. Even holding onto the railing you have to brace yourself, and you’ll probably still stumble a little. But this felt different. It felt like someone was grinding their crotch against my thigh.
After the movement was repeated a few times, and not in time with the bumps on the tube, I realized it was a man doing it quite intentionally. However, he was behind me and I couldn’t get a good look as there was literally no room to shift my body or turn my head. He continued rubbing against me, and then grabbed my butt with his hands. Thank goodness the train reached a station just at that moment, so he was forced to stop as some people exited.
There’s no way anyone saw him feeling me up because it was too crowded for anyone to even look down. Even then it would have been blocked by everyone’s bodies. I was really uncomfortable and worried for my safety. Luckily enough people exited that I was able to reposition myself so my back was against the side of the train so I had a good view of everyone around me, which is a deterrant against unwanted perverts feeling you up.
I was hoping that would hold him off long enough for me to reach my transfer stop, but right before Covent Garden I kept seeing this guy across the way acting a little shifty and glancing my way a few times. I’m sure the pervert was him. I didn’t like the way he was acting. I think he was going to approach me again and feel me up even though it would be more visible this time. So I jumped out of the train at Covent Garden last minute before the doors closed so he couldn’t follow me, then I ran out of the station as fast as possible so there was no possible way he had followed me.
It took me a few moments to regroup myself, and then my discomfort changed to anger. How. DARE. He. I shouldn’t be feeling embarrassed about the encounter and less about myself. He is the lesser human being. I wish I had had enough wits to have called him out about it while I was on the train. Next time I will. Otherwise guys (or girls) will continue to get away with this unwanted sexual attention/assault. Why should they be able to walk away without a punishment and then the *victims* feel guilty? I learned later on that apparantly there is a number you can text if you’re sexually abused/assaulted on London public transit. You just say when, a description, and what train/line. They’ll look through the CCTVs to find the incident, and then charge the perpetrator.
I was stunned. London’s government actually *cares* about our safety on transportation? They’ll actually act against sexual assault? This is a foreign concept to me. I grew up with the mindset drilled into me that you’ll likely get felt up in a big city as a female, and it’s just something you deal with. Almost like it’s my fault because I’m a female. But it’s not like trying to report it would do anything in America. I am very impressed with London right now.
Let me grab the tangent bunny and get back to the story. I walked around Covent Garden for a bit before realizing that I really wanted chips and a milkshake. Yup, that’s the adult dinner I wanted. I’m so mature and refined. Give me chips and ice cream ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Okay, don’t do that. I’d die from sugar and heart issues. But I needed it that evening.
I went to Shake Shack and ordered some chocolate frozen custard. Because it came mixed in with chocolate hazelnut brownies, chocolate fudge, and chocolate shavings, all from local bakeries. The cashier asked, “You do realize you’re ordering ice cream, right?”. I replied yes, but in my head I’m like, “Hell yes. #adultdecisions”
I sincerely apologize for using a hashtag right there. Sometimes I slip up and do that. *sighs and shakes head* For those of you who don’t know about hashtags, don’t worry about this aside.
I gobbled up my chips (french fries) and ice cream, then decided to be crazy. As I usually am. I thought to myself, “Why not *walk* home? It would save me money and I would get exercise”
Let me put it this way. From Covent Garden to Mile End is a 4.2 mile walk which should take about 1.5 hours. I’ve included a lovely google map to emphasize how crazy I am. That basically meant walking through 2/3 of Downtown London (width wise). But I decided to. Cause I really like walking. I think it’s my ultimate goal to see if I can walk the entire city. Well, not every road or anything, but if I can explore most of the neighborhoods and such, that would be awesome. You get so much more out of walking than taking the bus or tube everywhere. Plus, it’s free, you get fresh air (well, when you escape all the smokers), and exercise.
Ridiculous amounts of walking = I can eat more chocolate and not feel guilty
My flatmates were the sweetest and were checking in with me throughout the night to make sure I was feeling better from earlier. I also let my mom know that I was going to be walking long distances at night. Granted, it was only 9pm, so it was dark, but it wasn’t *that* late. I walk a lot, so I feel comfortable walking alone and at night, but it isn’t the safest thing to do. I was putting myself at risk, but I trusted my ability to walk with a brisk pace that gave off an air of “stay away or I slap you”, kept my purse cross body, and made sure to remember each public place in front and behind me (aka which pub is now behind me and which one can I see ahead). Pubs mean people I can yell at for help, since lots of pub goers actually drink and congregate outside.
It was a long and brisk walk, but I enjoyed it. I did get home safely, around 10:45pm.
Now let me jump a bit ahead to Sunday, as Saturday was mostly filled with doing readings and email catch up and such. Sunday was filled with a morning nap. Just cuz. But the best part was AFTERNOON HIGH TEA!
Nick, James, Jamie, Keisha, and I went to Debenham’s for high tea. Debenham’s is a department store, kind of like Nordstrom’s, in the sense that it has cafés and restaurants inside it as well. We went to the bottom floor (Level -1. In England the ground floor is G, and what we call the second floor is Floor 2. Anything below ground is negative) and it turns out we came too late for tea. We begged them and with our good looks and wiles convinced the to let us in with the understanding that there would be a long delay waiting for tea.
We all sat down and chatted, took pictures, and sipped our hot chocolate (yes, we ordered our high tea with hot chocolate instead of tea). After about 30 minutes our tea towers came out. And it was glorious. We all dug in, as
we were quite hungry. I think I’d only had granola that day thus far. I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking at this point. The only important thing to point out is that I finally was reunited with the love of my life: clotted cream. I had been in London for over two weeks and hadn’t had clotted cream yet. Anyway, enjoy the pictures!