Honestly, I don’t want to say good-bye to London.
As I wrote in my last post
, I hated London after my first semester here. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to come back, because now I can leave saying I loved it here.
There are so many things I’m going to miss: heading to a pub after class, weekend trips to European countries, a two-week mid-semester break, walking past iconic red telephone booths, and a super cheap phone bill.
One weird habit I’ve noticed that I do here is actually reminding myself that I’m in London. When I walk past the British Museum, I’ll say, “I’m in London.” On the tube: “I’m in London.” In Hyde Park: “I’m in London.” It’s my way of pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I’ve been living in London for a year
, and it’s still hard for me to understand that, even though I’ll be leaving soon.
There’s a song by Olly Murs called “Oh My Goodness,”
and one of the lines epitomizes how I’ve felt about my experience here: “you’ve got me dreaming of a life that anybody else would die for.” I’ve had so many incredible adventures this year, documented by this Art of Travel course and my personal blog and journal. Writing about all of m experiences solidified them, and now I have concrete evidence that I actually did all of these things. I loved traveling to different European cities; I just passed the 20-stamp milestone on my passport. Paris, Milan, Zurich, Brussels, Larnaca, Rome, Barcelona, Gozo, Amsterdam. I gained insight into all these different cultures, even if it was only for a weekend.
(Hyde Park on a beautiful day)
I also miss my parents so much, especially as it’s coming closer to my return flight back to EWR
. I only live about an hour away from New York, so when I was at the Washington Square Park campus, it was so easy to go home whenever I wanted to. Sometimes my parents would even come into the city to take me out for dinner or go to the Met. But London is an expensive 6-hour flight away, and I underestimated how much I would miss my small hometown in New Jersey. It makes me nervous since I’ll be going to Shanghai next semester, but it just means I’m going to treasure every moment I’m home over the summer.
When I landed at Heathrow from my weekend trip to Barcelona, I realized that it would be the last time I’d be flying into London. If I can, I’d love to come back. Perhaps the most rewarding part of living here for a year is that I know I’ll never be a tourist in London again. I’ve spent as much time in London as I did in New York my freshman year, so now London feels just as much like home as New York does. It saddens me that I’ll be leaving my second home for a while, but I’m sure I’ll scheme my way into coming back in the future.
(The image is from the plane on my way to London last August.)