Rest and Be Thankful

Vienna Vance
February 6, 2020

When I was a toddler, my most common sentence was "What I can do?" Although I have improved my grammar, I remain a person who likes to be on the move. Here in London, there are hundreds of answers to "What I can do?" at every moment of the day, no exaggeration. Most of the time, that's the greatest feeling. I could go to a free poetry night at a cafe near Trafalgar Square, or I could wander through one of London's many free museums or parks. I could get food of any ethnicity, at any hour of the day. This freedom tastes so sweet! But I have gotten a bit carried away at times, bouncing from one activity to the next, from morning until night. 

Some nights are meant for staying in my room with newfound friends, cherishing a burgeoning sense of community and campus life. And other nights are meant for journaling, which helps me understand what I've enjoyed and what I'd like to prioritize for the upcoming weeks and months. 

Living in a city of 8 million is a whirlwind to the senses: horns honking and high heels clicking on the sidewalk. It's also a whirlwind of emotions. Too many people bumping into me on the streets has affected my mood more than I would like it to. I think it's because I wish we could all slow down a bit, me and my mind included. That simmering idea rose to the surface of my thoughts today when I visited the National Gallery with my class entitled "London and its Museums." There was a mosaic on the floor in the entrance that said "Rest and be thankful." It immediately became my mantra of my second semester abroad.

Last semester, in Vienna, Austria, I felt at the beginning that four months was forever, but by the end, I yearned for more time in that place, with those people. I'm already sensing the beginnings of that feeling now. It is so amazing how quickly I have felt comfortable with my friends here. We have spoken so vulnerably, then giggled and danced together. But always, there is a twinge of sadness that I don't have forever with these precious people.  How brave it is to pull closer and closer to friends, knowing that goodbye is looming. When will I see these people again? And same with the city itself. If I leave a neighborhood without doing everything I had hoped, I think "What if I never come back here?" My answer to these two questions, starting today, will be "Rest and be thankful." It is such a privilege to be here, and I would be missing out on so much serenity by rushing through London, through this semester and through life. 

Vienna Vance

<p>I'm a big fan of tea (matcha, rooibos, black...I love them all) so I'm looking forward to drinking my weight in tea while in London! I'll also be on the lookout for the best vegan spots in London; I've heard there are quite a few to choose from!</p>

Home University:
Pomona College
San Diego, CA
Cognitive Science
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