In my opinion, preparing mentally and emotionally are the hardest parts of pre-departure for a trip like this. In many cases, physical health overshadows these two aspects of our lives. Since I'm really close with my family, I've made sure that my cell phone plan is ready to be used overseas and I can call my family at any time, even if it's just to say hello. I have also asked my family to send me encouraging words. In this way, I can feel a little calmer knowing that I'll be home to see them soon and can re-focus my thoughts and energy on enjoying London and everything the U.K. has to offer.
I know English food is far different from Jamaican and soul food, which is what I'm used to. So I plan to look up restaurants or markets that sell good quality meals which I can make or buy cooked. Since I cannot sacrifice roti, oxtails, fried chicken, rice and peas, etc. for a whole month, I'm looking forward to tasting these items in London.
I'm also mentally preparing myself to cook with the people on my floor because I am far from being a legitimate chef. I hope there are other frugal individuals in my dorm that want to make Pinterest-inspired dinners and snacks! I hear that London is expensive so I'm also ready for the sticker shock and late night cooking.
Preparing physically for a trip like this is not as bad as traveling to some of the other places I've been. The Dominican Republic, where the climate is very hot and humid, or Peru where the altitude is extremely high are places to which are more difficult to adjust. But I do plan to pack running clothes so I can work out when I have the free time and energy because feeling healthy is also important for mental well-being.
Last, but certainly not least, I'm preparing myself to have conversations with Londoners about daily life, politics, sports, and customs. This requires some reading and maybe even documentaries for fun. A few newspapers that I know will keep me in the loop are The Guardian, The Independent, and The Daily Telegraph. I'm excited to draw some parallels between these outlets and the major ones in the states because all of them lean left or right on the political spectrum.
Overall I'm ready to try new teas, keep in touch with family and friends, practice for the Great British bake off, and have fun!
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