The past five weeks of my life have been spent studying abroad in London and they have been both the best and worst weeks of my life. I have always had a love for British culture and for experiencing the world and I never thought I would actually get this opportunity and while it was wonderful and I will remember this for the rest of my life, it was, in reality, very different than the vision I had in my head.
In the weeks leading up to my trip, amid packing, my sister’s wedding and finishing up spring semester, my boyfriend of two and a half years broke up with me and I was devastated. It turns out the timing could not have been better as having a way to literally put an ocean between me and my problems was the best solution.
I needed this trip as a way to grow away from the expectations of my everyday life. I left the States in a place where I was less sure of myself and where my life was headed than I had ever been and knew that if I used this trip correctly, I could figure out who I am, in my own terms.
I can’t say with certainty whether or not I achieved this in my time here. Am I a different person than the one who boarded the plane five weeks ago? Yes. I’m more confident and capable and can appreciate myself more. Am I the perfect or complete version of myself who has all her shit together? Not even close (and I have many memories of crying on a London fire escape to practical strangers to prove it).
I can say, however, that the experiences, both positive and negative, as well as the people, those I bonded with and those I didn’t, have left an incredible and lasting impact on my life. I think I will look back on these five weeks and the people I met here as the turning point in my life. I am capable. I am strong. And I lived in a freaking foreign country for a month and kicked its ass.
Yours Politely, Natalie