One week left. I knew it would fly by, but why didn’t anyone tell me just how quickly? I’m just now getting really acquainted with my life in London, and now I have to say goodbye to it. But, no matter how sad I am, and how weird it will be to return home, I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to the moment I land in Seattle. I miss my family and friends, and the familiarity of my hometown, and the way I can guilelessly watch TV in my living room without feeling like I should be out doing something. God, I miss The Bachelor.
But, while there are a lot of things I’ve missed since I’ve been here — my nephew, American McDonald’s, affordable grocery stores, to name a few more — London has become my home, and I can’t help but feel like coming back to Washington will be temporary. Seattle is my homebase, and I need a dose of it every once in awhile to feel sane, but I haven’t even left London yet and I’m already planning the next time I’ll return. How I’m going to save the money to come back. What I didn’t have a chance to do the first time around that I can cross off my bucket list next time.
Yet, I’m sad, because I know it won’t be the same. When I leave London in a week, I’m leaving the life I’ve made here in just four short months. I’ll miss my friends, who I’ve spent every day with, and my roommate, who has quickly become one of my favorite humans. I’ll miss the old buildings in my neighborhood, and my walk to school in the mornings (even if I complain about it now). I’ll miss the accents, and the feeling I get every time I successfully reach my destination without getting lost, especially if it involves the bus (it’s a lot harder here, okay?).
Arriving in early January was one of the hardest experiences of my life. I was so homesick, and I cried more than I’d like to admit. Even though it was worth it in the end, I’m a little scared to go through something like that again when I get back. I know it won’t be as bad, but I’ve gathered so many new habits and daily routines, and I’m going to have to start all over again when I get home. I don’t think it will be reverse culture shock, necessarily, but I don’t know how I’m going to go through such a transition again without at least a little difficulty. I know being with my family will make it a lot easier, and I’m glad I have this blog, my experience as an AIFS Student Blogger, and my own personal journal to remember what my time here was like — which has also made it a lot easier to share my semester abroad with family and friends in doses rather than coming home and dumping too much information on them. (Even though I imagine this will be all I talk about for approximately the rest of my life anyway.)
I’m excited to return to school, as well. I miss my friends and roommates, and WWU’s campus is a lot different than Richmond’s. It’s larger, and friendlier, and I miss the structure. I have all my classes in one building here (out of a possible three), and I’m looking forward to having more than two possible locations to spend my breaks. I’m also excited to make the most out of my senior year. I don’t think there’s any other option for me than to get involved on campus when I return. I physically cannot just forget this part of my life, and I feel really strongly about encouraging other students to study abroad if they have an opportunity because of how much it has changed me.
I know that after living in such a huge city and doing new things every day, I’m going to need to find some hobbies to keep me as busy. Traveling so much since I’ve been in Europe has made me a little more adventurous, so I can’t go back to reading and watching Netflix 24/7 (maybe just 12/4 from now on). Luckily, my friends and I have already made a pact to not let the Facebook and Snapchat group chats die, and all living in different states will make it easier to appease the travel bug.
As easy at it sounds to return from your study abroad trip and get back into normal routine, I’m just not that kind of person. I have a passionate personality, and now that I know how it feels to live abroad and travel every weekend and meet new people, I won’t ever want to stop. And I don’t think I will.