It’s funny, the things that I remember years later. The little snapshots that pop into my head whenever I think of London.
I remember sitting, my legs propped up on my bags in front of me, in a waiting area in Heathrow.
I remember having to lug those 2 giant suitcases over four blocks of bumpy London sidewalks (I had not yet learned the importance of packing light), because our street was too small for the bus to maneuver down.
I remember a bunch of us pouring into the local pub on one of our first nights there, giddy with excitement and lingering jet lag.
I remember meeting my flatmates and having a bonding night, complete with pajamas, cider and getting-to-know-you laughter.
I remember the wind from the approaching Tube train blowing my hair back. I remember the bustle of changing trains at Green Park during rush hour, and getting frustrated with the “tourists” who seemed to move in slow motion.
I remember our meeting spot, by the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus, and the ache of tired feet after a night of dancing. I remember sprinting through the Tube station, trying to catch the last train. And, when that failed, I remember shivering in the cold of Trafalgar Square, waiting in the darkness for the night bus that would take me home.
I remember my classes (barely).
I remember strolling down a side street, swinging a bag of groceries from Sainsbury’s, gazing up at the grey London sky and feeling, at that moment, perfectly happy.
I remember the friends I made. We still keep in touch, though now it’s just through occasional posts on our Facebook walls instead of daily chats in the pub.
And I remember being back at Heathrow airport, months after I arrived, crying as I waited for the plane to take me back. It’s hard to say I was going home, because in those 4 short months I felt like a tiny flat in Swiss Cottage had become my home.
And that’s the best thing about living (and studying) abroad. You realize you can adapt to anything, and grow to love it. Your definition of home, and your understanding of the world around you, expands. It wasn’t one momentous, life-changing moment, but the simple day-to-day experiences, that defined my time in England.
Share your thoughts on living/studying abroad, and check back next week for some tips on how to make the most of a study abroad experience!
Photo by Paul Martin Eldridge via Freedigitalphoto.net