From a bench on the second floor of the British Library:

I’m just a little over three days into my journey, and I’m filled with a whole slew of feelings. Here are three:

Jet lagged: I made the treacherous mistake on Monday of taking a nap when I arrived at my Airbnb. After sleeping for nearly six hours, I was up all night. And then the next night. And now it’s Wednesday. Luckily, I woke up relatively early this morning and should be back on track for the rest of my stay.

Revitalized: I had an interview over lunch today with the lovely Fiona Cunningham, CEO of Sistema England. For more than two hours, we discussed her El Sistema journey, the ins and outs of her organization, and the upcoming SEYO 2018 Residency that’s being hosted by Sistema England this August. This interview—the first of my summer research—reminded me of several things: why El Sistema is important, the hard work that goes into creating and upkeeping effective El Sistema programs, and the inspiring network of individuals that make up the El Sistema community.

Independent: If you know me, then you know that I’m quite the people person. However, over the last three days I’ve done just about everything by myself. Aside from striking up conversation in the supermarket line and asking my barista where the bathroom was located, I’ve had very little socialization or plain human interaction (aside from my interview with Fiona) since my arrival in London. While at times this has proved challenging for me, I’ve really gotten to think more about my own research, goals, and life aspirations.

Besides, there are a lot of perks to taking on London solo. I wanted sushi for lunch? I got sushi for lunch. I wanted to see a play at the Globe? I saw a play at the Globe. I want to take a cute picture in front of Big Ben? Too bad, because it’s currently under construction.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to Lucy McGuire’s Sistema organization, The Nucleo Project. I’m excited to finally get on the ground with students and teachers tomorrow, and I look forward to what the remaining week in England has in store!

Feeling thankful for:

  • 1. My navigational abilities—while all my friends know that I pride myself in being an expert at getting around Memphis or Chicagoland, I’ve really been challenged while trying to navigate an entirely new city, pushing my way onto those pretty, red double decker busses, and not getting hit by cars when crossing the street because they drive on the opposite side of the road here.
  • 2. Whoever created fish and chips—I tried them for the first time yesterday and would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to buy them again for dinner tonight (but I didn’t, because self-control…but I was close).
  • 3. All the free/cheap things to do in London—I’ve been to the British Library, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, Westminster Abbey, Old Spitalfields market, and so many other cool places over the last few days!