So it's here. The end. The end of my study abroad experience.
For the past week I kept asking myself what single event would signify the end of the experience. I came up with a bunch of different answers, but today I really figured it out. I was looking out the window as the plane was making its final decent, I saw the clouds and then the ground. We got closer and close, and I felt myself getting more and more anxious. And then, the wheels hit the ground and I let out the biggest sigh. That was it. The plane touching down was the moment that ended it. I realized that on the way there it was takeoff that made it feel real. But once we hit the ground, that was it.
I can go on and on about how fantastic this experience was. Our first week was like a vacation where we got to hang out, see the sights, drink at pubs...everything. We got acclimated to our flats and life in London. I missed home a bunch. I missed family and friends. It felt a bit like freshman year all over again, because we didn't know how to do things and were struggling to find classrooms. What I didn't realize, is the life that I was acclimating to would be one that would teach me so much about myself and the world around me. I've said it a million times, but you do change when you go abroad. You grow and mature and come back a different person. Sure, studying abroad is about the classes you take and the places you go to visit, but it is also about learning who you are.
Though I have been to London twice before this trip, I got to do so much more this time (obviously, since I was there for three months). I saw Stonehenge and Bath. I took a weekend trip to Paris. I went to Prague and Vienna with two of my closest friends. And I got to return to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the first place I ever went in the United Kingdom. I got to play at a pub in London for tons of people I didn't know. And most importantly, I made and strengthened friendships that will last for a long time. There are so many things that studying abroad gives you. You gain knowledge about life. You gain respect for the life which we are blessed to live back in the United States. So much respect. I never felt more proud to be an American than when I saw ridiculous things happening in London.
I'm not sure what else there is to say. I'm sitting here in my room in America thinking about how I was in my flat in London this morning. I'm thinking about how I want to go and hang out with my friends, but I can't because we have all gone home. I still can't believe this is over. But when I see my friends back at school, it will feel so good to be home. It actually already feels good to be home. It was so nice seeing my parents.
If anyone who is reading this is on the fence about studying abroad, stop thinking and do it. I promise, you will not regret it.
I am so thankful for this experience. I am so thankful that my parents were able to send me to London for 3 months. Mom and Dad, this experience would NEVER have happened without you. I will never be able to repay you for what you have given me.
Well...that's it. Thank you to all who have been reading and following my journey. London, you will now and always hold a special place in my heart.
I'm going to end with the chorus to a song I wrote while I was in London titled, "Madame London"
"So long to the cobblestone streets,
Farewell to rainy days and soaked brick walls,
'cause I'm going above ground soaring high in the sky
On a plane tonight
So wave goodbye to Madame London."