I’m really bad at goodbyes. I’ve been putting off a final blog post because it’s one more thing that tells me my time is done here in London this semester. Of all the preparation and things that I planned for before studying abroad, somehow saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made was just not something I thought about doing. I didn’t expect to feel so much like I’ve settled into a home and a family. Tearing myself away from that is really difficult.
Today I checked out of Nido Spitalfields, which has truly felt like home these past four months. I am spending another 10 days or so traveling, so a post-departure blog post will have to wait a bit. But the great thing is that I don’t have to say goodbye just yet to London. It is still an end that I don’t quite want to face though; the end of an experience that I’ve come to believe is the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. People always use the term “life-changing,” but that seems so casually used, so obvious! Of course your life is going to change with each new experience you have! But I would say it’s been person-changing. I do feel like a different person from the one that stepped off the plane at Heathrow in January, a better person. Though I’m devastated to let this experience end, I am also going to be so happy to be home, and I’ve never felt so blessed to feel that torn between two places I love so much.
We ended our time as IES students the other day with a farewell event at the Waldorf Hilton for high tea, which was just so absurdly swanky and British. But in all seriousness, while I sat there something big hit me: I felt like I had been waiting my entire life to be sitting right there at high tea. In my first blog post, I talked about my little-girl dreams of London, and in that moment I felt like I had finally made it. And more, I’ve made it home.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ariana is a junior at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. On campus, she is busy with bellydance and yoga, and as an executive member of the student health club. She has ridden elephants in Thailand and gone whitewater rafting in New Zealand, but her time studying abroad in London will be her first experience of Europe, which she hopes to make the very most of. Writing is how she makes sense of the world, and she hopes to share this blog with you while she explores jolly old England!</span></p>