As I sit drinking an afternoon cup of tea at home in Fairfield, Iowa, I’m dwelling on the fact that in a week’s time I could very well be having a similar afternoon tea halfway across the world in London. I’m dwelling on the start of the New Year, a year I will spend largely away from home in a country I’ve never visited. I’m dwelling on resolutions: to seize newness and difference, to step out of my comfortable bubble, to just go.
Studying abroad has always been a “probably” for me, so it’s staggering to feel like it’s now a “definitely.” With all the paperwork, preparations, and less-than-exciting details of making this trip a reality, it has felt like the trip itself is months away. No amount of checklist-making and careful packing will really prepare me for what it’s like living abroad for four months, and honestly it makes me anxious to look at my calendar and find I board the plane in just a few days. I’ve never traveled out of the country alone, and I’ve been having dreams for weeks now about getting lost on the Tube! But I like change—I need it—and I know I’ll settle in easily once there.
Born and raised a Midwest girl, growing up in Iowa and attending college in Illinois, I’ve always had an itch to travel. As a younger girl, I was a total Anglophile, buried in Shakespeare and Jane Austen and perfecting my tea and English scone recipe from an early age. So it’s really no wonder I chose London. I’ve been to Asia and Australia, but I’m overdue for a trip to Europe. However, leading up to my departure, I find I’m growing more and more thankful for home: for closeness, being so near to places that make me feel nurtured, and for being blessed with people who make me never want to leave.
So, I head off for London with a challenge to myself, a New Years resolution: to go out and not look back. To live always in the present moment. My hope for this blog is to share that process with those I love, as well as provide helpful information for those who wish to do the same. I invite you to keep up with this blog, ask questions, send thoughts, be my tie to home. You and I will both see if I can’t make London a home, too.
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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>