It starts really high. Before you even arrive, you see all the beautiful pictures and think to yourself, “Man, this place is gorgeous.”

And then you actually realize how far it is from campus.

Which stinks; it stinks, but, like most students here, you scramble to find other places to live. There IS a room swap that happens at KCL; but it doesn’t happen until October so that you can take the time to get acclimated, and really experience the residence for yourself.

I remember being really determined that I would for sure move out. But as time progressed, I started to really enjoy the people I was around. I formed great friendships with two girls who also were from UCLA on my floor. And also, I just started to become friends with everybody on this floor in general; building networks of kitchen cutlery, providing their pans and knives in exchange for my Sainsbury pots and cookie baking sheets. So, the line chart goes up again.

And again, like any great novel with complex plots — it goes back down when room swaps become available and you discover that the friends you just made are moving out. That one guy you look forward to talking to in the kitchen is moving away to another dorm (note: I wrote this a week ago, and I found out he’s staying– woo!) 

The reality is, I’ve now come to not only accept Champion Hill as my home, but also embrace it. And when I finally came into this mentality, I found coffee shops around (go to Mono — a  vinyl records only, cheap coffee shop with great pain au chocolat with comfy chairs, cute lighting and mini plants on your table).

I found Pop Brixton, a 30 minute walk with some of the greatest, cheap foods that I adore. Every time I miss a bowl of Ramen, Koi Ramen Bar has my back.

Sainsbury’s is only a five minute walk in our backyard for anytime you want to get a grilled cheese fix (that clearance sale bread for 70p, cheese, and never forget tomato soup).

As far as the bus, it’s about a 30 to 40 minute bus ride. I’m not gonna lie, it initially sucks. I can feel lost from the rest of London, but I’ve come to love the moment when crossing The Thames over Waterloo bridge. The mornings become the time I collect my thoughts before the day truly begins, the readings I didn’t read the night before, the meditation I needed to release anxiety, and to finally listen to those podcasts I never got around to.

Champion Hill has become the home of some of my favorite memories; eating dinner with humans from around the world who inspire me with their stories — the dude from Germany who traveled around the globe  —  the second year from France who never fails to make me crepes and makes fun of my silly American ways — the boy across the hall who laughs at me as we sing along to 2000’s music — the girl next door who I always can go out with — the fellow UCLA girl down the hall who became one of my closest friends. We sat together on the couch one day and thought about all the times we could’ve met at UCLA; how we went to the same parties, had so many mutual friends– but we didn’t meet until we both lived here in Champion Hill. And that was the thing, this serendipitous occasion of living here and meeting all the people I did, Champion Hill wasn’t a mistake at all.