Do it. Do it on your own. Go to places where they don’t speak English. And as soon as you have that first feeling of, “I need to go home,” make sure you stay. Don’t go home until you get to that great place of, “I could live here.” As soon as you get that, it’s okay to go home. There’s no better way to get to know yourself.
It has been an incredible semester. How could so much have happened in just four months? I know I’m not the same person I was when I started. How can I be with all the new places, people, and adventures that have filled my life?
This past week alone, I have seen Matilda and Les Miserables, worked Sundance London, danced on the rooftops of Shoreditch, explored three museums, took a spontaneous day trip to Oxford, and so much more I can’t even remember. And I didn’t get lost once. And I took buses when before I would have taken the Tube, and walked when I would have taken buses.
Right now I am writing this from the sky. I’ll publish it as soon as I get wifi, which may not be for a couple days. I am en route to the first stop on my post-abroad adventure: Naples, Italia. It is 80 degrees and sunny over there now and I have to say I am not sorry to leave this London weather behind.
I am sorry that I am leaving so soon. Does this happen to everyone else? You move someplace for a semester abroad but it’s only at the end that you really start getting the hang of things, really getting used to your new surroundings, and then just when you start feeling comfortable, it’s over. Just like that.
Four months is not nearly enough time to study abroad. Ages ago, I remember reading something from a college brochure or something of the sort. It was a quote from a student saying that if you had the option to go abroad for a year or a semester, definitely do the year.
And whoever you are, you are absolutely right. These past few weeks have been the best of the entire semester. The weather has gotten nicer, our group of friends was really coming together, I could navigate my way around this city like a pro. Few more months, I would have declared myself a proper local.
So why do I have to leave now? It took long enough for me to get to this point. Being abroad is not as easy or glamorous as it sounds. I had my lows, mostly due to homesickness and loneliness. There were times when all I wanted was just to go home. And I realize now how completely normal that is. Like the quote above, staying when all you want to do is leave is crucial to getting to the point where you never want to leave.
I don’t know where I’ll end up after graduation. But chances are I will go through this entire process again with whatever city I end up in. It’s hard to move someplace and make it your home. You have to stay. You have to love it when you hate it. You have to let it mess you up a bit before it embraces you completely. Before you win it over beyond reasonable doubt. That’s when it becomes yours.
I’m going to miss living in London. I was just now really starting to feel the vibe of the city, really starting to settle in. It doesn’t seem fair to have to leave now. But I can’t lie either, I’m extremely excited to go home. Even if it’s just for ten days.
Like I said in my previous post, I’ll write again when I get back from traveling. I’ll be making my way through Naples, Malta, Rome, Venice, and Milan these next few weeks and coming back to South Florida on the 16th.
London was incredible. But it’s time for my next adventure.