When I first came to this country, I was overwhelmed and unsure whether I would really like it here. I have never lived in a big city before, and it was a little daunting. At the time, my mom reassuringly said, “You’ll love it here, and you’ll never want to come back.” As much as I hate admitting it, she was right. I love the diversity, the rich history, and the culture. I had never thought about moving out of the states after college until this trip. I could see myself living here, hopefully sooner rather than later. I do miss home and the little things that make it special, but I will miss London, too.
I will miss how easy the transportation system is here. From a person who hates driving, the tube was the best part. I also did so much walking. My oyster card was my best friend for this trip. I saw so much of London through transportation. It was cheap, easy, and an experience in itself.
I will miss the endless possibilities for excitement here. As I have said so many times, I’ve seen so much and yet barely scratched the surface. I have been trying not to feel guilty about seeing everything that I wanted to see, because I am sure I will be back again, and I have made a pretty good dent. I have seen Brighton, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, and all the big tourist spots in London. I have tried as many traditional British foods as I could. I have visited museums, parks, pubs and markets. And yes, this Harry Potter fan got her fix not visiting the studios, but also Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross and all the other major landmarks seen in the films. I even went to my first movie "red carpet" premiere and got a picture with the star of Tarzan. There really was no shortage of things to do in London itself.
Most importantly, I will miss the friends I have made and who made this trip what it was. I never expect to make friends, and I am so happy I found these guys. We laughed, explored, vented, drank, ate, and sometimes yes, we argued together. In the end, we all still felt as if we had known each other longer than seven weeks. To Callie, Cody, Hannah, Katelin, Kenzie, Michelle, and Rachael: thank you. You guys mean a lot to me, and I will miss seeing you.
While I am excited to go home and relax, I will miss it here in London. I truly felt a strong sense of belonging, which I don’t always feel in the states. When I was finally able to maneuver successfully through the tube, bus, and train, I realized I was no longer a tourist. When I started saying words like “queue” instead of line and “dodgy” instead of sketchy, I was no longer a tourist. When I was able to confidently walk across the street without fear of getting hit and looking the wrong way, I was no longer a tourist. I felt whole here, and it was an amazing experience.
I think on this trip, I have become more patient, more flexible, and more independent. While this wasn’t my first trip abroad, it certainly was my favorite. There have been good days and bad days, but I have had great support from family and friends while learning how “to adult.” It is an ongoing process. I think I learned more out of the classroom than in it, which in my mind is how it should be. I do not regret any of the experiences I have had here, both the good and the bad. I am so blessed to have had this experience, and I know it will be hard to leave, but at least I always have a home here.
To my wonderful British family who gave me such good tips and housed me during my stay, thank you so much. I will be back soon!
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<p>My name is Analise Ober, and I am a junior at University of Puget Sound studying Sociology and English. I am from Minnesota and enjoy hockey, being on the lake, and (of course!) writing. This is my first trip to London, and I hope to experience a lot here and can’t wait to share it with you. </p>