Goodbye London, I am sure that our paths will cross again.
Four months have passed since I stepped foot into the halls of Heathrow International Airport. It seems like so long ago that I searched for “King Cross Residence Building” only to discover that I had passed it multiple times. I had so many expectations about what I would do, who I would meet, and the woman that I would become.
I found opportunities at every corner and countless chances to prove to myself that I could be the adult that society says I should be. Tesco has been my best friend. I meet him every Saturday morning to buy all of my groceries for the week. Never go on Sunday before 12:00 or after 18:00 (6pm) otherwise you will not have breakfast or lunch for work on Monday. Pret a Manger is your go to for a quick £1 sandwich so that you do not break the bank because of one missed Tesco trip.
When you hear an approaching tube, always run passed fellow tube riders because you will regret missing it when the next tube arrives. I remember reading the Evening Standard, the free evening newspaper, about Londoner’s complaints about the wait time for an underground tube. Most tubes, such as the Piccadilly, Victoria, Northern, and Bakerloo lines, run every 2-3 minutes. However, if you miss one then you may catch the rush hour tube. Which means that on more occasions than I would like to admit, I was squished between two people while holding onto a pole and reading a book. But that was the best part about being in London; running between platforms, trying to hop on a tube before the doors closed, fighting for a seat if there was an open one, and being squished between a bunch of people that refuse to look at you.
Apparently, the study part of study abroad is not optional — go figure. My program has made a conscious attempt to create a hybrid of the American Education System and the British Education System. At first I thought that was the best way for us to learn more about the country that we are living it. I was sadly mistaken after I realized that there were a total of three (3) exams and research papers or presentations that would determine my grade. Often times, well the whole time, professors would not give students a rubric to use as a guideline for projects. I found it frustrating, but I took it as a learning opportunity. While growing up I was always told what the teacher expected. There were always specific instructions with what students needed to do in order to reach a certain grade. In Britain, it is nothing like that. Students are given a title, or question, and told to answer it. I literally laughed out loud during my exam when I thought that the question was a statement. This semester has taught me that I need to leap outside of the box in order to find more creative and inventive ways to answer seemingly simple questions.
Fridays were for fun! After a hectic week of classes and my internships, I began a weekly tradition I called Relaxing Fridays. This was the day when I slept in and left the building at 2 pm to get my day started. One tip I would give to any study abroad student, and one that I will continue for myself, is to take a day to yourself. I told myself that I would become comfortable with my own company. The first Friday that I tried this, I felt uncomfortable wondering around by myself. I thought that in order to get the picture that I wanted or to have the most fun would be if I had all of the new people that I met around me. I quickly got over that, bought myself a selfie stick, and hit the ground running. I went to open markets by myself, had lunch, searched for the Tardis, museums and more. I had the goofiest grin on my face the whole way. It’s something that I will continue to do when I get home.
So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly. Eat, Pray, Love
Photo Credit: Ciee.org