December 31, 2015
It was exactly four months ago today that I wrote my very first post for this blog, on my 20th birthday. I have now been home for about 11 days. I’m finally over the jet lag and it seems the only bit of British English I have added to my vocabulary is the way I pronounce my h’s. I am currently on a train en route to Philadelphia to ring in 2016 with my roommates who I have spent four long months without! The train’s final destination, coincidentally enough, is Washington D.C.
The weirdest thing about being home is how normal it feels, and how easy it was to slip right back into the swing of things. It’s like I didn’t even skip a beat. I’ve also found it very weird being face to face with the people who have spent time over the last four months reading this blog and finding interest in where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I had lost sight of how personal my posts are.
Since my trip abroad was a bit abrupt, I kind of had to spring my absence at school this semester at the very last second. One of my close friends said to me when I told him, “You’re gonna be one of those girls that ‘studies abroad’” and as much as I disagreed…he was right. Studying abroad changes your character in ways you would never have anticipated. It allows us to be exposed to things and forces us to be comfortable with them, in ways that you would not present itself in any other circumstance, forcing us to open our eyes a little wider, feel a little deeper, and dream a little bigger.
I would also like to say, after answering many times this last week which place was my favorite, that the city you actually do your ‘studying’ in, holds a different place in your heart than any other place you will ever visit. When people say they leave a piece of their heart in X, it’s true, the love you have for the city you studied abroad in isn’t a place that you can love like anywhere else. That city was your only concept of home in a sea of so many new, uncomfortable, and beautiful experiences. So thank you London for that.
I have to admit, as much as I miss London, I am not necessarily sad to be home. I was ready to come home (and my bank account wasn’t getting me anywhere else). I had gone to every place I had wanted to go, and seen just about everything I wanted to see. I missed my dog, my friends, complacency, American bacon, free public restrooms, and my queen sized bed…I had checked everything off my lists and felt I had gotten everything out of my semester that I needed too. And I think that’s the most important thing. I went after this experience because I was at a crossroads in my life, and needed some time to figure out which direction I needed to head. In a sense, I found myself, or at the very least the person I am meant to and want to be at this point in my life. I’m so grateful that I could leave happy and ready, still in love with that amazing city, but not mourning to return. Well, just yet anyway.
Some other information I guess I should share (since I promised) was to tell you if and when the wish I made at the Trevi Fountain came true. Well it did. I just wished that I would return home safe, I thought if I wished something realistic that would most likely come true, the magic of it would be kept in tact. (I may have also added in there that if the wish granters were feeling generous they could hook me up with a internship but we’ll see what happens with that one…) At the time it wasn’t the most unrealistic thought that something tragic could have happened on my way back to America. When I visited Rome, it was less than three weeks after the attacks on Paris in November. It was also at this time, that I realized what the scariest thing about all of this is. We would walk past armed men on the street, and I mean like every major street in a major city, and not even give it a second thought. That lack of a second thought was the scariest part of all of this, but it is just the reality of the world we live in.
It’s hard to imagine that the next 8 months of my twentieth year could even compare with how influential the first 4 were. I do think, however, that the last 8 months of my 19th year were spent preparing me entirely for the adventure I just embarked on. So that just shows you how important some things can be, without you even realizing it. I have very little expectations for the rest of my twentieth year. I am impatiently waiting for the arrival of my 21st birthday, knowing that amazing things will happen along the way.
So on that note, I am ready for 2016. I am thankful for everything that 2015 was: for all of the people who made it so special, for all of the places that stole a place in my heart, for my closest friends and family for supporting me and loving me throughout, and for all the lessons I’ve learned. I look forward to 2016 with hope in what this world holds for us all and confident about all of the ways that the past year has influenced whom I will be next year. And this is by no means my farewell post; I have plans for 2016, so stay tuned. Cheers ☺