Okay, so I made my headline a question very deep and too sensitive to answer just now – so I’m going to change things up for my last post from across the pond…
How about a virtual postcard at the start of my blog post, instead of the end? Ya know, to really get us through the sappy words that will come later by beginning on a high note! 🙂
London Bridge – A photo I took in my first few days in the city!
Now, for the tough stuff – which I hopefully pull off with a humorous story and not too many tear inducing (on my end) thoughts.
On my commute home today I was giggling under my breath while riding in the prized top level front window seat of my W7 bus (you know, those cliché red double deckers? Yeah we actually use those here in London…)
While I was trying to keep my laughter in check and not get car sick – the W7 traced its route to Crouch End.
The article I was reading in the “Evening Standard”?
A very tongue in cheek piece written in response to the surprising General Election results that no one over here was really expecting, even the Conservatives who came out with a clear majority in Parliament. (Crazy – right??)
Anyway, the article was written as a guide of the Top 15 Things Essential to Being a Londoner, or something like that.
Intended for all the Scottish Nationalist Party MPs descending from the Highlands into the city, among other surprise candidates that usurped once-solid Labour seats, the list was a hilarious comment on how in-touch the newly-elected batch of MPs would need to become in order to survive their terms.
As I was reading hungrily through those bullet points, I was understanding each comment, riddled with Londoner references and jokes.
Then, I realized something monumental:
Without me knowing it – London got under my skin.
In my first few weeks here, I decided this dreary, fast-paced city was a pale version of Paris.
I wouldn’t love it as much as my beloved City of Lights – even if it did smell far less like urine, and you could get on the Tube without constant fear of a man with a stereo cart and an instrument “serenading” you for a few stops in exchange for coins.
Well London, I admit defeat. You found your way in somehow and I can say now, in my last week here, that I will miss you. Sure, to keep my emotions in check I will say to myself that I’ll only miss my time here a little bit – and that going home to Tennessee is all I need right now…
But deep down I know that after a year abroad – living anywhere else will feel like a pale version of these two amazing cities I now call home.
I feel at home in a café on Boulevard Montparnasse, just as I do waiting for the my Victoria Line train at Euston Station.
Home will also be each time I bite into a Pain au Chocolat, no matter where I am eating it.
A sense of home will come to me whenever I hear a British accent, or yet another mention of Princess Charlotte.
I always knew that Tennessee would be my original home. Eventually, I even discovered how much Hollins would become a home that is never far from my mind.
But, with these last days in London I am realizing that Hollins gave me two more places I can call home in the world.
One of my favorite quotes (as a person who loves travel and views other cultures of the world as THE most important factor in the future well-being of human existence) is:
Wouldn’t you know, I’m so excited to explore all the destinations I haven’t reached.
Because with this Hollins Abroad experience at my back, I know I can adapt myself enough to eventually call any new place I travel to, home.
(**Good thing since my after undergrad plans consist of trying to pass the Foreign Service Exam. Fingers crossed y’all. That could mean I’m finding new homes all over the world as my life’s career! How amazing would that be??**)
To answer my question I posed in the title of this piece, “So, Is This Where It Ends?”:
Not by a long shot. In fact, this is only the beginning.