Abroad and Beyond

It’s crazy that I wrote the body of this post 79 days ago, on May 26, 2012 on my flight home from London to Boston. It’s just now, after the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics that I’m ready to not only put my thoughts into writing, but to process it as well.

Surprisingly, coming back home wasn’t as awful as I thought it was going to be. The first weekend I came home, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was all over the news, and I was hiding in my room. After that small mishap, I got to see all my friends, celebrate my 21st birthday, and enjoy my last summer as an undergrad. After working 2 jobs and taking summer classes last summer, I am really enjoying this summer. The sunny beach days, the quick thunderstorms, the hazy afternoons drinking pink lemonade, and weekend trips.

I’m ready to keep on writing. I want to blog more about my experience in Europe, but continue to blog now that I’m back in the States. As my senior year of college approaches, I realize that this is just the beginning of my adventure. 🙂

5/26/12

Today was the day that I truly dreaded for the last three months. Boarding my flight back to the United States. Saying goodbye to London. It wasn’t just the city I was studying abroad in, it became my home for five months.

I never knew how comfortable I could become in a place 3000 miles from where I grew up. And I have every single person that I met in London, and all the places I traveled for that matter, to thank you. When most of the girls I studied abroad with left after the first term in March, I was so happy I was staying for 2 terms. I just kept thinking: I have three whole months left, plenty of time. That’s the funny thing about time, there’s never enough of it.

And then, the weeks started to creep up, each going quicker than the one before. The knot in my stomach grew a little bigger as the date in May got higher and higher. And before I knew it, it was the last week, and we were making our last trips to our favorite spots in the city. Then, there was the last night all four of us were in London.  And then my last real day; with my last stroll through Hyde Park, my last terrifying trip to Primark (similar to the experience you have at IKEA except with clothing), and finally there was my last tube ride to Holloway Road Station. Walking the 15 minutes back to student housing that I walked everyday, I just wanted to keep walking.

I wanted to study abroad since I was in high school, but when it came down to actually applying, I almost let the opportunity pass itself. I didn’t know if I would like it, and I didn’t know if I liked traveling all that much. My mom told me it was now or never, and I’m so happy she knows me better than I know myself because she pushed me to fill out the paperwork. I didn’t want to miss a semester at URI, but all my friends told me I was going to have the time of my life.

I feel like a completely different person than I was before I studied abroad. I genuinely wasn’t excited to move to London, and now look at me. I think I’ll be a bit bruised when I come to the realization that the perfect bubble I’ve been living in for the last 5 months has popped. But, I walked away with hilarious memories, great stories and three amazing friends that I know will be in my life for a very long time. From New Jersey, California, and Arizona they go to schools all over. We couldn’t have been more different from one another, it was almost comical, but it worked!

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” That quote couldn’t be more accurate. I’ll be back to London some day, I can just feel it! 🙂

Xoxo

P.s. On my returning journey to Boston, I checked my bags, one of which was so overweight I had to throw stuff away and try and stuff some of it into my other bag. This man was laughing at me while I was sitting on my suitcase trying to close it. At least he then came over to help me, which is very surprising for a Brit! I went through security and headed to Starbucks for a much needed coffee. As they posted the gate number, I headed off to C61 which was a transit ride away, and sat waiting for a bit. Then I got this gut wrenching pit in my stomach when I realized I had no idea where my passport was. I knew the last time I had it, it was in my hand, I searched in all my bags and couldn’t find it anywhere. The worst part was that my boarding ticket was in my passport. I panicked and went up to the gate and they made some quick calls. At this point she said she didn’t know if I’d make the flight because they already started boarding people, and I was a good 20 minutes from where I thought I left it somewhere going through security. Then they got a call saying they found it and had someone bring it up to me, I think I cried. I swear, NOTHING goes wrong in study abroad. I was perhaps a little insensitive to the poor woman next to me in the “problems” line that wasn’t being allowed in the U.S. because of some stupid green card issue. If only she had studied abroad…Miracles like this have kept happening, and I’m really starting to think I’m pushing my luck.

I will continue to post some of my experiences abroad from time to time, dragging out the dream a little longer.

Abroad and Beyond,

SamiImage

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Day Trip: Oxford

Woke up early and decided I wanted to go to Oxford, but I wasn’t sure how to get there/what to do there. So, Addi googled, and we found out we could catch a bus there round trip for 13 pounds at a nearby tube stop. So off we went!

While on the bus, with wi-fi of course, I googled “what to do in oxford.” I found a 2 hour walking tour free of charge that got great reviews, so we decided to catch the tour at 2. You’ll find these tours a lot in Europe, and they’re great because it’s usually students who give the tours, and you tip at the end based on how much you enjoyed it. This was the Footprints tour, and I highly recommend it, it was great!

I didn’t know but the University of Oxford is actually not one school, it’s made up of 38 different universities. In addition to learning about the schools and such, we saw the building that the Harry Potter dining hall is in, and the hospital scenes are in. 🙂 Apparently the wooden door, with the weird little elfish creature, inspired C.S. Lewis in The Chronicle of Narnia and the series The Lord of the Rings. Also Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland in Oxford!

Keep Calm and Carry On

I can’t believe three weeks have already gone by since I boarded the plane in Boston on New Year’s Day and arrived in London on January 2, 2012. I also can’t believe all that I’ve done and all that I’ve seen in that short amount of time. I already love London, because I don’t think a lifetime here would be enough time to do everything, but I’m sure going to try 🙂

My very first day here went by in a blur, it took be over two hours to get through customs, and by that time my driver that was supposed to take me to Bloomfield Court, my housing, was long gone. I randomly selected a man holding a sign to pick someone else up to ask him if he knew the driving company I was looking for. And to my surprise, and luck, he worked for the company! So I waited just a few minutes before I was picked up! It was my first time driving (as a passenger of course!) on the left (wrong) side of the road. I arrived at my housing sometime around noon and we had a welcome dinner around 6 p.m. I ran around trying to gather everything I needed from shampoo to a cell phone. And after lasting at the dinner for no more than an hour, my social skills were at an all time low, I went to bed at 8 p.m.

Amusingly, I woke up at 1:30 p.m. London time the next day, meaning I slept 17 hours. This small coma that I took made me miss my orientation and first class at AIU. I woke up very confused at what time it could possibly be, and then realized that I missed the last group that left at 12 noon to head to school. My class started at 2 p.m. and goes until 6:45 p.m., so I knew that I should probably still try and make the second half at least. Strangely I didn’t really panic, but instead got ready, and ran out of my apartment. I had no idea what bus I was supposed to take to the tube, so I just power walked there. Not really sure where it was, I hoped that I didn’t walk by it, but at last I came across Holloway Road tube station. I asked the worker where Marylebone High Street was. He told me I needed to get on the central line, and get off at Marylebone station. This was not right.

I ended up getting off there, walking around quite a bit, hoping on a bus, and walking around even more. I was wondering on Weymouth Street, and then asked a door man where Marylebone High Street was, and he pointed me in the right direction. I finally found my school! I caught the group of girls in this class on break, and was so thankful I did because we apparently had switched classrooms.

Needless to say, I haven’t traveled by myself to school since.

Here’s my room!