The end of my international love affair; back to America

It is my last day in London and I am sitting and staring at my stuff. I am about 95 percent packed, but the last 5 percent is daunting me. I don’t know what to do with it, and I just cannot imagine fitting all of my stuff back into these two suitcases, one carry on and one personal item. I don’t want to miss any parts of London. I want to pack them all up with me, but I can’t. Three months ago I fit my stuff in my bags, but I was getting ready to embark on an adventure. Now the adventure is over, and I just don’t feel that I should be able to fit my stuff in the same bags. It should be too big, too amazing to fit. So instead I am typing this while sitting in between my suitcases and my stuff and feeling overwhelmed.

I guess I should explain the title. It comes from a quote that I love, “Traveling is like flirting with life. Its like saying ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.’ ” So I guess today I am saying goodbye to my three-month love affair.

Now I thought the best way to end this would be to give you a list of reasons why I am sad to leave and why I am happy to leave.

We will start off with the things that I am going to miss.

1. The endless possibilities. I loved being able to get on the tube and go anywhere. Warwick Avenue is hte perfect tube stop to live by. It can take you to most things, or is just one transfer away from most things. It is one stop before the busiest stop, so you are basically in the center of everything but you get to find a seat before the whole car is filled up. And I love being able to spend a few hours on a train and being able to get anywhere. The whole continent is at your finger tips. While we are on that topic, I love trains. I am going to miss the wonderful European trains. I think they are one of the most peaceful things in the whole world. But basically I am going to miss public transportation in a city that is filled with plays, museums, festivals, shops and everything else.

2. Theatre. I feel pretty positive that there will never be another time where I will get to go to a show once a week. I loved getting to get lost in another world for a couple hours each week. The only thing that made me sad is that theatre is so casual here. I wish that people got all dressed up and arrived early for shows like they do in America. We actually talked about this difference during our theatre final. And our teacher Patricia Doyle was just delightful, I loved her! She would get so passionate about whatever she was talking about. I will also miss writing papers about what the different shows made me feel. I fell in love with Ibsen’s Master Builder and thought it appropriate to write a five page paper when it only need to be one. I also love Patricia for being okay with that, and reading it all.

3. The Mice. So there are these mice that always hang out down in the tracks of the tube. We would sit and watch them. Every single time that the train came we would freak out and hope that they were okay. Most of the time we would wait and see if we could see them afterward, but these mice are smart and always survived.

4. Tim the tubeman. I have told you guys about Tim before, but really I am going to miss him. He learned all of our names and learned about our lives. He was most interested in learning about sororities, it is funny how the Greek system is such a strange and fascinating thing to the British. But on Friday night all of the girls in my flat went to a local pub with Tim and had drinks. He was just so adorable telling us about his life. He used to wash windows but would spend all of his time talking to the customers that he made no money. So instead he had to find a job that would allow him to talk to people, and he became a tubeman. He is just one of the most generous people I have ever met and has such a big heart. We are all obsessed. He has a fan page on facebook from past Elon students. And he really wants to come visit Elon since every semester he befriends the new Elon group to live in these flats (so Leo Lambert we vote you let him come to the country, Elon has made a difference to him. Direct Quote: “I used to never want to go to America because I thought everyone would be stupid and mean. But Elon students have taught me how intelligent and kind Americans can be. I would love to see the place that brought these people together and these people to me.”)

5. People I lived with some of the loveliest people in the whole world. We have had so many great times traveling together, living together and exploring the city. This trip could have been miserable if I lived with annoying people because of how compact our space is. Also the girls that I met at work were just fantastic people. I am going to miss Laura, Beth, Rose, Maddie and everyone else so much! I am also going to miss our epic games of bananagrams in my flat. You know you live with awesome people when they are obsessed with words and not only does the winner count but whoever has the most impressive words in their game.

6. O’Neills So this is where we went every Thursday night. We met some of the craziest people there. The cover bands were always these really old guys rocking out on their instruments which made us laugh. Plus we all just love to dance. So it was perfect. And one of my favorite nights while here is the night that by complete coincidence all of the Elon students studying in Denmark, Spain and London all ending up at O’Neills right next to the stage. We all started screaming, hugging and then screaming out the lyrics to every song that mentioned America that came on that night.

7. Crazy People If you know me, you probably know that I attract crazy people. If there is one in the near vicinity, they will find me. Well in London it was no different. I met crazy people everywhere. The man at Tesco continually tried to trick me into going on dates with him. We met someone who looks like the Grim Reaper at a club. Every bus ride involved me meeting people that were ready to tell me their life stories including one man who was convinced he was made of plastic. The stories just continue…

8. Euphemisms British people just say better things. For example, rubbish instead of trash. Improvement works instead of construction. Some things that I know I am going to continue to say are flats instead of apartments and everything is going to be pounds in my head for at least all of winter break. Current problem though, I have a wallet filled with pounds, euros, cents and Japanese currency. Struggle fest. Every store is going to hate me for the next few weeks as I take out coin after coin after coin and it isn’t the right currency.

9. Jackets The one food that I fell in love with in the UK are jackets, which basically are baked potatoes. There is this one pub that serves jackets with cheese and baked beans that are SO GOOD. Yesterday Amanda and I went to go have our last one.

10. Grocery store being down the street So basically everyday of the week you can find Elon students in some sort of pajama-esque clothing at Tesco Express. It is the grocery store literally a block from our house. There is one day where I went to Tesco three times that day: before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Actually make that four. We went back for ice cream that night.

Now for the things that I am looking forward to in America…

1. My bed This may be a silly thing for me to have first, but guys the bed here was the bane of my existence. It was a bunk bed. Amanda was on the top bunk, I was on the bottom bunk. Well, basically every time she moved the bed shaked, the top bunk has visibly gotten lower since we got here and the springs in this bed are not real. We have bruises. So getting into my bed that is comfortable with my pillows and my blankets and room to move and a bed that doesn’t threaten to fall and shatter my bones will be the greatest thing. Also being in a house that has heating and air conditioning will be lovely.

2. PEOPLE. I cannot wait to run up and tackle so many people with love. I have missed everyone. It has been great to get to know people better via email and letters. The written word just makes you so much more honest, so you admit so much more about yourself. And people can’t interrupt you so you just keep GOING. But I cannot wait to hug people and to hear people laughing and hear people’s voices and get to actually see them. I am not going to go through and mention every single person that is missed, but believe me I miss you all and love you all.

3. Mexican Food This blog, and basically my whole experience in London, could be renamed to Ode to Mexican food. I want Tex Mex now. On The Border and Moes will all be happening within my first 48 hours in the country.

4. Challenging Classes This is really going to make me sound like a nerd, but oh well. I miss challenging classes. I have not had to study for a single test since I have been here. My hardest assignment was making an art exhibit, a floor plan for it, picking 8 pieces to showcase and creating my own piece of art. This was such a fun assignment but not truly hard. And I miss studying and writing real essays and actually feeling challenged. It was great to give my brain a break from the truly academic stuff, but I am ready to be a student again.

5. Bathrooms. Okay, so there are  bathrooms here, but they don’t count. For starters, the bath is too tall. It goes up above my knees. So that has been unacceptable. The water pressure here (as in the whole country) is just not as great. There is constantly mold. We are ALWAYS running out of toilet paper, and in case you were wondering nothing is grumpier than 8 girls that have to hold their pee for hours and then have to go on the tube for twenty minutes to get to school in order to go to the bathroom because no one wants to pay for toilet paper because in a few hours we will get more for free. Yes, this happened. Several times. Basically between hostel bathrooms and our bathroom, I cannot wait for REAL bathrooms. Oh and I am still offended that you have to pay for public bathrooms. Not okay.

6. The Pendulum So I loved getting to intern at my magazine and I loved getting to have my byline on glossy paper, but I cannot wait to be writing for The Pendy again. I cannot wait to actually get tangible copies of the paper instead of hoping my internet will allow me to download it. I CANNOT WAIT TO READ COLIN’S RED WORDS. I cannot wait to be in our office (I am obviously talking about the new one- wherever we go is our office), I cannot wait to have production nights and budget meetings. And on Tuesday I get to see my loves and attend The Pendulum end-of-year party; I am so excited! Not just that, but I get to meet the new staff on Wednesday. I am perhaps in love.

7. Driving. Yes, the world just ended. Yes, I just said I missed driving. Me the girl who refused to get her license, refused to drive with her parents and protested every step of driver’s ed and the four year process that led me to eventually giving in, fairly coerced, and getting a driver’s license at 19 misses driving. But as much as I love public transportation, I want the best of both worlds. I want to be able to get in my car and drive on rainy days or really cold days instead of walk thirty minutes. I want to be in my car with my music playing and just being by myself for a while. Oh and being able to get to one place to another without the squealing that happens as you come to Paddington station would be a plus (everyone always covers their ears).

8. Max from Acorn Max who works at Acorn is kind of like my Tim the Tubeman. Except he feeds me. He just loves to talk to people and tell me his life stories. Sometimes you can end up talking to Max for almost an hour before you realize that you are really late to something. I cannot wait to get welcomed by him each day, get free food and have him ask me where are my friends are whenever he misses people. He also told that there were not showers in London, I am going to have to tell him that I did indeed shower during my three months here.

9. Not having to wear wet jeans So we have a washer/dryer here. But it does not dry. So we all have to dry all of our clothes on drying racks. 8 girls worth of clothes never fit on drying racks. And they hardly ever dry since we have to get creative and stack them on to each other. My first load of laundry that is washed and dried, that is soft, and warm, and not stiff as a cardboard box will probably make me do a dance. Well everything basically makes me do a dance, but this will be a really enthusiastic one.

10. BABY. So I said I was not going to do list specific people, but I lied. My sister is my favorite person in the whole world. These three months have been the hardest for her. I cannot wait to be back in the country with her again. I cannot wait to hold her hand and hug her and have dance parties with her and read in my bed with her. We are actually those annoying sisters who write love-y dove-y things on each others walls all the time, check out our wall-to-wall or friendship page or whatever facebook calls it these days to see for yourself. It has been so hard to be away from her and miss her dance concerts and her drama and her sassiness (she can give me a run for my money!) and her laugh and her everything.

Well it is not a few hours before I have to get on a bus with the 38 students I traveled here with three months ago and begin on our journey. I know it is going to be full of adventures. So the last blog post will be all about returning home. And just to give you some teasers: half of us can check-in early, half cannot because it says they are on a group flight (but so am I and I am checked in), two people can’t check-in because it says there confirmation number is not real, we have charity piles that are huge in each flat of stuff we are leaving behind and we are all worried about going overweight with our luggage. It shall be interesting.

Time to say goodbye. And hello. Because I will be seeing you guys soon.

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