As in most places, Christmas came early to London. Shops started playing Christmas songs in mid-November, and decorations went up in the streets around the same time. As I’m a Christmas enthusiast, I secretly enjoyed this quite a bit – and my first December in London turned out to be a real treat. I even survived doing my Christmas shopping on Oxford Street, which is notoriously busy in the festive season.
On top of my sessions at UCL, from late November to mid-December I attended a course in how to teach Black British history at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. The Black Cultural Archives were founded in the 1980s to research, preserve and promote Black history in all its shapes and facets. Brixton, which is just around the corner from where I live, is home to a large Black Caribbean community, many of whom settled there in the 1960s and 1970s (although the area is rapidly changing). The course that I attended involved considering relevant sources and how they can be used in the classroom, discussing important topics and contentious issues, and presentations by guest speakers on key themes in teaching Black (British) history. Even though it meant piling more hours on top of my already heavy workload, I enjoyed every minute of the course and would love to do it again. I feel like this is exactly what I moved to London for – there is so much on offer here, and so much to learn if you keep your eyes open and seize opportunities as they arise.
After school broke up for the Christmas holidays, I headed back to Germany to see my friends and family for a week. I do really like spending Christmas at home. It’s the perfect way to get some rest and catch up with people that I’ve known for a long time. Even though I missed out on a load of snow by about a week, I got the chance to head out for some archery, which was great fun. Much as I love living in London, it is nice to get a change of scenery every now and then – particularly if it involves fresh air and open spaces!
I flew back to London at the end of December to catch up on some work and ease myself back into my normal routine before things kicked off again in early January. Impressive as the New Year’s celebration in central London may be, I decided that getting stuck in a huge crowd and taking hours to go home wasn’t really worth it (at least not this year – I’d like to try it some time in the future, though). Instead my flatmates and I had some friends over for a party and then headed out to our local pub just around the corner for the big countdown.
I think 2018 is going to be an important and exciting year. Let’s see what will bring!