New Places, New Faces

I didn’t know anyone in this photo prior to leaving the states (including the dog).

The five of us met on an excursion in Paris. Between getting lost in the Louvre, gazing in awe at the Eiffel tower, and eating more French bread than I thought humanly possible, we learned the ins and outs of a new city together. I’m happy to call these people my friends, and as I continue to travel across a new continent, having companions like these alongside me has made the journey all the more worthwhile.

Spending time away from familiar territory comes with its difficulties; new roads, languages, customs and currencies. I’ve learned that the best way to overcome these obstacles is by traveling with a few familiar faces. Exploring a city with others is beneficial for everyone involved, as we all play a role in the group’s collective cultural acclimation. The courageous aren’t afraid to tackle language barriers headfirst, while cool-heads keep us grounded, making sure we’re maintaining some semblance of order as cultures clash. Those with attentive personalities assure we’re headed down the right streets, while curiosity ushers us down the roads less traveled. Qualities of all kinds begin to come out of the woodwork when your comfort zone is hundreds of miles away. No matter who you’re with or where you decide to go, traveling with others allows you to settle into your strengths, and gives you the opportunity to hand the reigns over to someone else when you’re unsure how to proceed. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few weeks, and I’m excited to continue growing as this edifying semester progresses.

After arriving back at my flat from Paris, I put down my bags, ripped off my shoes, flopped onto my bed and breathed a sigh of relief. “Home at last,” I said to my roommate. This was funny to me, because even though “home” is on the other side of the planet, I still feel right at home here in my flat in London. I feel as though my friends and I have finally nestled in this city.

On another note, my time in London has been spectacular thus far. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for nearly seven weeks now. Feels more like two or three.

My London highlights include:

  • Walking through The Tate Modern
  • Shopping in Soho
  • Visiting The House of Vans’ student art exhibit
  • Seeing a concert at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
  • Attending The Ping Pong World Championship
  • Shoreditch pub crawls
  • Stonehenge excursion (Aliens. Had to be.)
  • Canary Wharf winter lights

Though there’s still plenty on my to-do list, I feel like I’m making the most of my time here. When I’m not out exploring the city, I’m on the clock at Young Citizens or completing an assignment for one of my classes. Altogether, I’d say I’m just the right amount of busy. Happy & healthy. Talk to you soon!