Twenty Four Hours of Goodbye
I can hardly believe that in just over 24 hours, I will be back on a plane heading back home. After watching the unbelievable transformations and crazy happenings in my country from a distance, on the news, through my British and European friends, hearing about several feet of snow in my home state when it’s practically balmy here… Home almost sounds like a foreign country. It’ll be strange to hear snow crunching under my feet again.
It’ll be strange to come home and not see my dog bounding and singing at me, because she passed away just two weeks ago. That’s been hard… but I know she passed doing what she loved, and she’d want me to keep looking ahead. Little bugger.
It’ll be strange to be the me I’ve become, in the home I haven’t seen in so long.
Some things I’ll bring home with me:
– Minimalism: I’ve been inspired during my time here to try to live with less. I’ve found that I can live happily without lots of the things I keep around at home – so one plan is to purge the house of unnecessary extra things, to make moving around easier. I want to travel again, and the less I have, the easier that will be.
– Teacakes: I couldn’t bear to leave without stocking up on the beautiful teacakes that Lani showed me in Scotland! And they go perfectly with…
– Sainsbury’s Fair Trade Black Teabags: These are brilliant. They are better than PG Tips or whatever else fancy, the extra pound cost does not make them taste better, don’t let anyone tell you different.
– Citysurfing skills: I can now maneuver around a city I’m unfamiliar with, with minimal confusion and sometimes even beating the ETA on my phone.
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Yes, the original version of one of my favorite books of all time. With the original cover art (not quite a first edition, but for 2.50 pounds at a used Welsh bookstore, I am not complaining at all).
– British slang: Bril. Bonkers. You Alright? Ta! Cheers (I guess I already had this one, but I’m still bringing it back). Mental. Quite. Every little helps. Calling cookies biscuits, chips crisps, and fries chips… I can see the confundery even now.
– Memories: Of some of the best theatre I’ve ever seen, the sweetest people, and the most educational and inspiring adventures.
My landlords left me a note before their trip this weekend, thanking me for being such a great tenant – I was surprised and thrilled that I don’t suck at adulting, and that they liked me. I wished I had a chance to spend more time with them, I’ll never forget their scathing and hilarious comments while we watched The Great British Bakeoff. I also had my last rehearsal with the Kingstones A Capella group this Wednesday, and my last D&D Session on Sunday. My friends have all been inordinately sweet to me, and I’ll miss them so much. I have never liked goodbyes, but it seems like I have no choice but to get used to them, since I’ve absolutely fallen in love with traveling.
Maybe I should just not put so much weight on the goodbye part, because honestly, it’s the time I spent with them before goodbye thatI’ll love and remember the most. There’s facebook, and there’s time. Life is long, even if it’s short.
One thing I am relieved about, is to be done with finals – If I can give one really solid piece of advice to anyone studying abroad in the UK, it’s this – do not put off your finals to the last minute. Ask your classmates what is generally expected from an academic research paper well in advance (for instance, I learned by accident that it’s only acceptable to go 10% over the word limit, and that a proper academic paper has anywhere from 10 to 14 citations for 3,000 words – these were rules I did not follow for my first two essays). And make sure to do the work bit by bit, so you don’t find yourself pulling an all-nighter before a final during your last week abroad. Trust me, you’d much rather be walking around and saying goodbye to things than stressing about university.
Tomorrow I say goodbye to my home-away-from-home: I’ll visit the Christmas market in Surbiton, have lunch with some friends in Kingston, and then Dennis and I will have our last pints with fish and chips at the Albert, down the road from my house in Norbiton. And then that’s it – the next day, after a six hour plane ride, I’m back home…
Funny how home is so relative. How it changes over time. And how you can accumulate so many different ones, all of which speak to a different version of you. Eventually it’s like you learn to carry home with you wherever you go, and it adapts to the space you fill. Maybe that’s what growing up means.
I’ll miss this home and this time here in London… as my landlady Judy would say, it’s been absolutely “bril.” 🙂