Home Away from Home

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Reflecting on my study abroad this far, I think back to the time where I really began to feel that London was my home. It did not happen right away, and I did not notice it right away. For the first few weeks, it was a challenge navigating the tube, grocery stores, and restaurants. Questions like “How do I know where to get off on the tube,” or “is it customary to tip at a restaurant and how much” are just a few examples of things we do not often have to think about when we are comfortable in our home town. One of the scariest experiences that occurred to me in the first few weeks occurred on the tube. I was with a group of friends and was relying on them for directions. However, I jumped onto the tube as the doors were closing and watched as they waved goodbye to me. Eventually I was able to meet back up with them but after being a little terrified to get lost in the bowels of the tube. From this moment, I vowed to always know where I am going ahead of time and got really good at reading the directions on the app called “CityMapper”. On a happier note, I noticed that I was starting to think of London as my home one night when I was cooking dinner. Throughout the week, I began planning out dinners and grocery shopping I needed to do. As I was cooking dinner, I felt a sense of freedom and adulthood that I was not used to as a student on a college campus. I felt as though my time in London has allowed me to grow and mature, just as one would in one’s own home. However, the moment when I first really felt that London was my home came after our trip to Ireland at the end of February, around week 5 of the program. I remember commenting at the Dublin airport that “I couldn’t wait to get home” and my friends knew exactly what I meant- none of them asked to clarify if I meant home in America or London. Additionally, once we got home that evening, I noticed how relieved I was to be home, which was just another indicator that I felt as though London was my home. These experiences, both good and maybe necessarily not so good, have helped me to realize that I view London as my home and I will always remember how I grew as an individual in this city. I am grateful to have found this sense of security 3700 miles from my home in America.