Home is a really weird concept for me. We all think of something completely different when thinking about our “home”. For me, it would depend on when you asked me. I have no physical attachment to one place like most people. I loved the town I grew up in and am thankful for the community that raised me but there’s nothing inside me that feels the need to go back there if I get homesick. Home isn’t people for me either. I love my family and friends more then anything but they aren’t my “home”. They create happiness in my life and I enjoy being around them but they aren’t the reason for my existence. Home for me is somewhere where I have a purpose and meaning in the world. Sometimes it’s Downingtown occasionally it’s Newark once it was Africa and now it’s London. Every once in awhile it’s time to change your home and create a different meaning in your life. I think this is the best way to create progression and find what you are passionate about. I will probably spend a lot of my life with different homes that don’t make sense to a lot of people but to me for some reason I have found meaning there.
The past three weeks have been absolutely insane. Being this is the first time I’ve ever been in Europe I have been so crazy busy and absolutely, insanely curious about everything. I’ve seen so many new things that I never knew even existed and of course all the tourist attractions (mostly dragged to by my roommates). So far I’ve visited Stonehenge, Bath, York, Abbey Road, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s and so many more places that I can’t even list them all. I’ve seen a bit of some London Fashion week and spent countless hours people watching from benches and fountains around this city. I’ve met some unforgettable people that have such beautiful souls that I am so incredibly blessed to get to spend this time with. We have already made such amazing memories together and I am so grateful to have them. (Special shout out to Sarah and Megan xo) I would say I never want to leave this place but that’s absolutely completely wrong. If anything, being in London makes me curious about what else there is out there and tempts me to get up and go again. Overall, things are great and I am having the time of my life.
Currently, I’m sitting on a train going to a smaller city called York which is only about 2 hours north of London. It’s known for its gothic architecture and (of course) bars. While I sit here I realize that the most relaxing thing to do is sit on a train, car, plane, listen to music and watch the world go by. I think back to my favorite travel times and I remember the time I sat on a train watching the California coast go by. How beautiful the ocean and cliffs met each other. I remember the time I sat in a safari car and watched the vast Serengeti leave me. How beautiful the endless horizon of green grass was. I remember sitting in the back seat of my dads car driving through the desert of Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. How beautiful the scenery was to change at any moment. Some people find watching a movie, reading a book or spending time with friends to be relaxing but I enjoy the actual act of traveling. Moving from one place to another. I like the backs of old houses and fields of hazy morning grass. I like zoning out into endless clusters of trees while listening to the lyrics of my music and relating everything back to my life. Travel is so much more then just seeing Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, or the Colosseum, it’s about spending the extra time you rarely get to look inside yourself. That’s why I’m a traveler not a tourist.
Living in a city is a lot different than I ever imagined. I grew up and went to University in two towns that were both predominately white with very little diversity at all. When it comes to interacting with a group of diverse people I still find it to be uncomfortable and I’m 21 years old.
My roommates and I were walking around our neighborhood and there was a homeless man propped against a building. Of course I didn’t say anything to him as if to act like he wasn’t even a human being. This little boy came wheeling around the corner on his scooter with his dad shortly behind him. The little boy probably not even 7 years old yelled “Hello sir!!!” then proceeded to yell at his dad “Daddy, say hello!!!!” They continued to go over to the man and have a short conversation with him. This is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen and reminded me of what little acts of kindness can do. I think as we grow up we start to perceive homeless people as solely drug addict, lazy, animals that aren’t actually human. They really are broken people that lack a support system to bring them back. I feel like if everyone tried to at least smile or hold a short conversation with a homeless person they will have more confidence to find the motivation to pick up the pieces of their life.
I’m going to try to make it my personal mission to understand the lives of as many different kinds of people as I can while I am here and reach outside my comfort zone that I’ve been used to for so long.
- No one honks here. Its magically like god has blessed these beautiful people with patience.
- You have to PAY for grocery bags!!!!! If you know me you know how FURIOUS I get when people double bag something or bag it when I told them not to. East coast ppl need to get with this environmentally conscious memo~
- The market next to us has 4 avocados for 1 pound. Enough said.
- The tube is actually super easy to figure out but everyone is so quiet and Americans are so not.
- No one really runs here but I found that running in a city is actually so fun and absolutely the best way to explore a city.
- There’s tons of little markets everywhere with tons of really cool finds
- Fish and chips. Need I say more?
- Everyone is actually super nice here and if you look confused they will help you
- You really do need to “mind the gap” because my oyster card is now deep into the gap
- The Big Ben- it was like freaking Disney world with the worst kind of people.
- Telephone booths because they are filled with pee
- The tube is so so so crowded and sometimes I have to do an awkward hunch if I’m squished up against the door.
There are a few negative aspects of London but that comes with the inconvenience of living in a city and could never influence the amount of great things that I could say about being here.
This might be a regular Tuesday for you but for me I said goodbye to all my friends, said CYA to my parents, packed up approximately 150 pounds of luggage, cried insane amounts of tears and dragged myself to gate A17. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m going to be spending a little over 3 months studying abroad in London. Yes, London, 3,575 miles away from my parents, my Lori, my college friends, UD dages, my roommates, my incredibly comfortable bed, Grottos, my juicer and all my people. It’s a scary thought that I’ll be going from the two small towns I lived in (Downingtown and Newark) to a city comparable to NYC. For the longest time it has been my dream to study abroad and maybe eventually move abroad but I never thought it would come true. I’m so incredibly grateful to be given this opportunity and can’t wait for what is to come this semester.
Cheers to another wildly eventful adventure.