Remember that time I went to London for Three Whole Weeks – All By Myself? As I’m sitting in the shared kitchen of the flat that has been my home for the past three weeks, it’s hard to believe this trip is closer to becoming a memory than it is to being an adventure. And well, it has been an Adventure, and also a Challenge, and also lots of Other Things that I know I will cherish for many years to come. I’ve grown as a person, as a group member, as a leader, and as a writer. I’m headed home with a suitcase that is much heavier and a heart that is much more full. I get exited thinking of my future classroom filled with British books and students curious of the island across the pond, all the stories I can tell them beyond red telephone booths and a really large clock.
I can’t wait to teach children about culture, globalization, harmony, and sometimes dissonance of beliefs and ideals. I can’t wait to write stories that take children to places I’ve traveled, places where the flag has the same colors but a different pattern, places where there’s a queen and history that travels all the way back to the beginning of time. I can’t wait to introduce Harry Potter and the idea that England is more than a wizard world drowning in tea. But while the future is exciting to think about, I want to stay in the present for just a moment longer.
Stay in this moment where I am just a Small Girl in the very middle of a Big World. The traffic is so loud outside of my window, but it reminds me that there is constantly life happening: life that doesn’t slow down, life that keeps pushing forward regardless of if I am there to appreciate it or not. When I leave this place, there will still be far too many people cramming themselves into a single carriage on the underground during rush hour. There will still be people that are grateful they remembered to bring their brolley out with them as the relentless London skies unleash their power on the people below. When I leave this place, few people will know that I am leaving a completely new person, unaware that every inch of this city has left a mark on me that I cannot erase.
And I am so, so thankful for that.
I could talk about all of the amazing things I have learned in my studies: how literature has changed right before my very eyes into something so much more than I ever expected. How my tutor is so intelligent and witty, offering insights into a world I had never even heard of, of fan fiction and nonsense language and controversy. I could talk about all of the history that I have been a part of, the influence of Brexit on my time here, how Londoners stand just as in shock as myself with the daily news headlines. I could talk about the rich past I learned so much about, the royalty and the treasures England has to offer those who go looking.
But I don’t think any of the many words I could come up with would ever do it justice.
Thank you, London, for the memories you’ve given me. Thank you for the stories I can share, the laughter that poured out of my throat, the insight into a new culture and into a new way of thinking. Thank you, King’s, for one of the best summers of my life. Thank you for knowledge, for guidance, and for a beautiful campus that has given me so much more than I knew I wanted. Thank you, Fulbright, for the opportunity of a lifetime and the chance to go share with the rest of the world what I’ve learned.
I’m not good with goodbyes so we shall settle for a sweet
See You Later.