Afterthoughts on the London Experience (Part II)
On the day of departure, I felt grateful to be meeting my group at the airport. It is so much nicer to travel in a pack than to travel alone. The international flight on a British airline was spectacular. They fed us regularly and were very attentive. The jet was the biggest I had ever seen or been on. I slept most of the six hours, waking up only for drinks and meals. When we arrived, I was very tired but still had a sense of thrill at being overseas for the first time. Going through customs was a little scary, but I did everything my advisor told me to do and we got through in a breeze… They put the stamp on my passport, and I smiled… and took a picture of it right away to share with everyone at home.
Stepping out of Heathrow airport, I felt as if I was in New York under a gray sky… That is, until we boarded the bus that would take us to our flats. The cars, roads, and trees are eerily similar to those in New York, but so very different. Over the next two weeks, it was difficult for me to share a flat with four other women, but at the same time I felt a sense of comfort at knowing they were there. Maybe it would have been easier for me to share in younger days. I was grateful for my roommate, PJ, and joked often that we were the “Cranky Old Ladies” together… Going to bed much earlier than our other roommates. Still, I must admit, they were all a very nice group of people and I am sure we would have done anything for each other in London. So, there is this sense of solidarity and teamwork that one can develop from an experience of traveling abroad during an intercession in a small group. Maybe that is different in a Spring or Fall semester.