Yesterday I did something for the first time. I went to a gallery to look at an exhibition, on my own. A massive thing for me. I am not the most confident of people in strange places, and I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking at. This is all part of the degree experience I suppose, and it is pushing me well out of my comfort zone!
I had planned to go in early November, but that didn’t quite work out, so I went yesterday instead. I am now officially a wuss!
I found a car park near to where I thought I ought to be and then I panicked. Properly panicked. I had no idea where to go. I saw a shopping centre I recognised from a visit to Nottingham much earlier in the year with my husband. I walked in and found a bench where I could sit, draw breath and check on my phone to see if I had an app I could use to give me foot directions (no visitor parking at the gallery!) and using their free wifi I found one. I made my way out of the shiny bland shopping centre and onto the streets of Nottingham. Although I was trying to follow the directions I wasn’t doing very well. I saw a taxi rank. I dithered. I caved. I got a cab. I felt a complete idiot. I gabbled in the taxi. Speaking nonsense about not being able to find my bearings. Three minutes later the cab dropped me at my destination. I felt a proper fool. I could have found it myself, if I had just stopped and thought about it.
All of these thoughts are put down for a reason. They demonstrate the idea of the Square Mile. An area that you know well, intimately, all the nooks and crannies, I didn’t know this area at all. I felt at sea. A stranger in an area that was full of people who did know it well, for whom it was their stamping ground, their Square Mile. If it had been my Square Mile I would have been fine. How will I manage in London? I have no idea. But I will at least be meeting other students who will know what they are doing!