So, it has been a week since I left London. It took a couple of days before the jet lag hit me, and about around the same time I became homesick for London. Adjusting to being back at home has not been too hard, though. I came home for a couple of days and then flew out to Colorado for a family vacation, so I have managed to keep myself busy enough not to feel depressed. I am really just waiting for school to start, so I won't pine for London so much. Still, I haven't been through any form of culture shock on re-entering the United States.
I have had to readjust to the time zones obviously but also to having free time. It's kind of funny how one of the things I really missed is turning out to be my biggest adjustment. I was so excited for free time and being lazy without feeling guilty, but now I really miss being somewhere new everyday and exploring. I think a few more free days to do what I want in London still would not have sufficed. I just miss almost everything about it. It has been good to see my parents and my dog, but it is a similar feeling I have when I come home from college for the summer. That first week is great, but afterwards I am ready to move on.
London has really helped me grow as a person. I became more patient and independent. While I am used to going grocery shopping and being mobile, it was a different experience in the UK. I learned how to take the tube, bus, and train. Once I had figured those out, it felt as if England was pretty much as my disposal. I went to Cambridge for the day by myself via train. I could take the tube or the bus anywhere I wanted to go in London. As a last resort, I could always take a taxi. I felt a true sense of independence being able to not only choose the places I can go, but also having the ability to get to those places. Patience was also important both in traveling and dealing with people.
There are many people who don't speak English in London for a start. I was asked for directions, which I found both flattering and terrifying, by tourists like myself. I would try to explain it the best way I could if I could, but it usually involved a lot of hand gestures and verbal repetition. Secondly, being in a new environment with a bunch of other new people in the same situation is always an exercise in patience. I had to experience it at camp, at school, and here in London. There are always different kinds of people from different parts of our very large country with different opinions. Not to mention, we all came to London with certain ideas of what we wanted in mind. It was a test of patience just to pick somewhere to visit when traveling with a group of friends.
I think I have become a better global citizen as well from this trip. At one point, I was wondering with all the tragedies happening whether I was more aware of them because I was away from home, or because there actually was a lot of things happening at this particular time. I think it was a mix of both. The attacks in Orlando, Turkey, and Nice happened. The EU referendum, which I didn't actually know was happening until I was in the country, happened. It was a little crazy afterwards as the pound dropped the lowest and fastest in thirty years to 1.30 USD. I was consciously aware of all these happening across the world, and I have a growing interest in staying that way. I want to be a better informed global citizen, not solely concerned with the happenings of the United States, especially if I manage to move to London permanently.
This trip showed me how to take control of my own life, feel confident in my abilities, and open up post college options. For me, home is wherever I am, so London became my home. While that helps me adjust to changing environments quickly, it still means leaving a little of myself wherever I go. So, while I am know that life will go back to normal and school will keep my thoughts preoccupied, I still cannot wait to return to this amazing city, where the locals are nice, transportation is easy, and where something is always happening.