No exaggerations, no nostalgia, no letting memories get the better of me…
London is my home, or at least a home. It’s the place I feel truly confident, alive, happy, and… me.
I spent the spring semester of my junior year studying abroad in London. I was there from January 8th- April 24th, 2015. Don’t worry, I won’t get too sappy. But I have missed it every single day since I’ve returned. At least 2 or 3 times a week I look up plane tickets to go back.
I miss how I was when I was there… fearless, thrilled to wake up every morning, unafraid to try new things, looking for a new adventure around every cobblestoned corner. The precise moment I fully processed that I would be living in London took me by surprise. The day after arriving, our program walked to the Somerset House ice skating rink. My friends and I got some hot chocolate and explored the House while waiting for our skating time. We found a beautiful balcony door (yes, I did take a picture) and my jaw just hit the floor when we went outside. Before me was the London skyline. The Shard, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Thames River… I was overwhelmed. I thought:
This is London. And all of this… it’s 15 minutes away from my front door. I’m not here for a quick visit. I’m staying here for FOUR MONTHS. I’m going to make memories here and become familiar with everything. I get to STAY here!
It was an incredibly surreal and emotional moment. I’ll never forget the first time my heart swelled for London, and the way that feeling grew every single day… okay maybe I got a little sappy there.
I miss the freedom of being let loose in a big, beautiful, historic city, with nothing to stop me from taking a Tube this way, or going to that park, or spending hours in that museum, or making a detour to walk down this random side street. My time and my life was my own in the best way possible.
I miss the skylines, and riding the Tube escalators on the right side cause only animals would stand on the left side, and walking through bustling streets, and finding new markets. I miss living among some of the most famous and ancient sites in the whole world, while also being smack in the middle of a global hub for life and culture.
I miss that European ability to travel anywhere at the drop of a hat.
Prague, Amsterdam, Germany, Stonehenge… trips I only ever dreamed of became not only possible, but easy! An actual conversation I had with my roommate:
“Hey, do you have plans the weekend after next?”
“Nah. Want to go on a trip somewhere?”
“Yeah let’s do it… ever been to Italy? We can check out the Amalfi Coast?”
“I went with family a few years ago, but I’d be down to go again.”
And 30 minutes later we booked a 6 day trip to Rome, Capri, Positano, and Pompei. It was like buying a bus ticket from Ft. Lauderdale to Tallahassee. What a life!
But as much fun as I had on these weekend excursions, I would always think, “as much as I love it here, I can’t wait to get home… home to London“.
All my roads to lead back to London. Some people may not think 4 months is enough time to gauge if somewhere is right for you, but I know in my heart it’s the place for me.
We’ve all heard the saying “happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey”… but I know whoever coined that phrase has never lived in London.
Luckily… I may be going home pretty soon… stay tuned!