Okay friends, I’m super behind on posting because I’ve finally had some homework due. I’m sure you’re as unsympathetic reading this as my mom was on the phone when I complained. In true Melanie fashion as she sips from a “Spread Kindness Like Confetti” mug, I got an “oh you have to stop partying and traveling for a few days to do some homework—what you’re actually there for, must be tough. You better get your a** going.” I can always count on her to inspire and motivate, ha!
I do plan to finish up writing about the rest of my travels and do an entire series on my time here in London specifically. I was looking back at some of my posts from the beginning of the semester and I’m so glad I have all these memories to reflect on. It seems like just yesterday that my mom and I were stuffing my suitcases with all the shoes I INSISTED on bringing. An update on the 15 pairs: we walk at least 5 miles a day usually—heeled booties, platform sandals, and strappy heels are NOT a necessity.
I remember I was SO nervous to come here, I had said from the beginning I was sure I’d have a major anxiety attack on the plane. And then I boarded the plane, watched a couple movies, and I was at my flat before I even had time to be scared. I arrived around 9 am and Traci and her dad were already there. We spent the day finding the nearest grocery store, touring the university, and getting the slightest glimpse of London. In one day I knew this place was home. As cheesy as it sounds, I LOVE this city. I love the way everyone is always hustling and working hard, there’s opportunity for everyone out there willing to find it. I love the public transit. I love that everyday we discover a new bar or cafe or restaurant and it’s just as cool as the last. I love the amount of diversity here, everyday I meet someone new and they always have a different story. I think the people are so nice here (for the most part, ha). I love that there’s always a show or museum or event to go to—I haven’t been bored once. And I love that generally speaking, I’ve felt extremely safe here. The only negative things I can come up with about this place are it’s freaking EXPENSIVE, and the rats on the tube at night creep me out.
To put it lightly, if I had my way I wouldn’t be leaving next week. I hope this isn’t the last of my time in London. Some people have asked about how I feel being so far from home/my family. This experience has shown me that this really is a small world and with technology it’s so easy to stay in touch. My mom and I have a relationship where we talk everyday and I know she’s my best friend no matter where I am in the world. And I talk to my dad and sister regularly too, so it’s been way easier than I thought to feel close to home.
I don’t think it’s this way for everyone but I had a pretty freaking awesome experience in that my roommates (who I didn’t know before coming here), and I became instant best friends. I truly felt like I had a family here the whole time and instantly the conversations we had were so much more than surface level breaking the ice. We were instantly sharing bucket list experiences, talking about self growth, and our goals for life. And of all the experiences we’ve had, some of my favorite memories are of us goofing off in the kitchen. To have friends that are genuinely excited for you and are there to share such amazing memories is such a special thing and I know these girls are friends for life. We’re already talking about visiting each other once we have a few dollars to our names again, ha.
Ironically, I think leaving here is going to be harder to adjust to than coming here. I think an experience like this changes you, and when we came here we were coming to the unknown. But we’re all going home to a place we know, only we aren’t really the same. Hopefully it’s changed us for the better. I know I’m way more independent and confident and I have the attitude that if I can’t find someone to do something with me, I’ll do it myself. I’ve learned to take more risks over here and not let fear/anxiety keep me from something I really want. I learned that I don’t need to go to the mall every time I’m bored and traveling isn’t as expensive or far out of reach then I thought. If I could save enough money in less then a year to go abroad for three months on a part time job and nannying gig, I can afford to travel the rest of my life. I’ve seen how far small acts of kindness, like the taxi driver in Iceland, can go. I’ve seen firsthand different governments and naturally my opinion on American politics have changed. I’ve had real conversations with all kinds of people, who I will probably never see again, but have gone beyond the basic “what’s your name and what do you do?”
I see a lot of sarcastic social media posts about how all study abroad kids want to talk about is study abroad. But if I’m being honest, if those people experienced something like this they’d probably talk about it all the time too. Maggie said she thinks they should talk about it more because she had no idea how amazing this would be and if she did she wouldn’t have thought twice about coming.
To anyone that’s been following along, if you have the opportunity to travel, even for the weekend—go see the freaking world. Be open minded, explore, step out of your comfort zone.
So now… if you’re wondering what’s next for me, I’m wondering the same dang thing. I return to the US with my bachelor’s degree and I don’t have a plan. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared so it sounds like I need to go back and read what I just wrote and take some of my own advice, ha. I know I’m going to spend a couple weeks in Chicago, see my favorite kids I nannied for this summer. I’m going to spend a couple weeks at home and enjoy my mom’s cooking and watch the new season of Schitt’s Creek with her. My sister and I are going to go on some back road drives and we already have a concert planned. I’m going to introduce my dad to my new favorite drink: Jameson whiskey, ginger, and lime. And I’ll be making at least one trip to St. Louis to see all my sweet friends and cheer fam that I miss so much.
Hopefully in that time, I’ll find a job and then I’m off to the next. I’ve said since high school that New York has been calling my name and if I can make it happen, that’s where I’d love to be. But I’m open to some other cities too, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’m going to finish up sharing my trips to Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, and my favorite place of them all… London.
Thanks for following friends, your support really means the world!