The last of the fourteen columns that I wrote for my school newspaper during the Spring 2013 semester from London.
LONDON – I worried, fretted, thought about backing out. Wondered how easy it would be to kindly ask for my visa back. Knew I had to go.
Met my future best friends on the first night. Almost all got run over by a car coming from our right instead of from our left. We were leaving McDonald’s. Oops.
Did touristy things. Wondered if I’d ever have alone time. Had alone time. Didn’t like it when I was alone. That was different.
Thought about how long four months is. Planned trips with my new best friends. Went on trips with my new best friends. Cooked in the kitchen with my new best friends. Sung in the kitchen with my new best friends. Drank in the kitchen with my new best friends. Cried in the kitchen with my new best friends. Four months can be short too.
Longed for when I could start my internship. Tapped my toes impatiently. Started my internship. Wondered where all my free time went. Found out what next year is going to be like. Tried to stop time. Time can’t be stopped.
Found out my friends and I have the sleeping patterns of our grandparents. Discovered we were okay with this. Talked about life, experience, the future. Tried not to think about the very near future.
Three months can be short too.
Crossed my weeks off until work would be over. Realized I was counting down until London was over. Stopped crossing off weeks.
Introduced my new best friends to my home best friend. Thought about how people are the same all over the world. Wondered why we have to be separated by things like time, distance, religion, prejudice. Still haven’t found the answer.
Started replacing Zs with Ss in words like ‘realise’. Changed my settings to British English. No more red lines. Realised I had shin splints from walking to work every morning. Thought about how I drove three blocks to Safeway last semester. Resolved to walk more. And buy more comfortable shoes.
Flourished at work. Found that my eyes were clouded when looking at myself. Learned to accept compliments. And give them too. Saw that confidence drives success. Puffed my chest out. Got pooped on. Kept my chest where it should be. Saw that humility actually drives success. Didn’t get pooped on again.
Went to a work party. They ordered too much champagne. Stumbled home from a work party. Saw them all through my sunglasses the next morning. They offered me their Advil. Wished I could take back the crossed off weeks.
One month is a short time.
Talked with my friends about things we still need to do. Didn’t do them. Instead did stupid things with my friends. Wondered if I was getting the “full” study abroad experience. Turned on my iTunes. “It’s not where I am, it’s who I’m with”. Didn’t wonder anymore.
Last day of work. Had a picnic and talked about my future. Realised the picture I’ve been painting for 21 years has been erased. Found out I’m okay with that. Learned to embrace it. Thought about painting London there next. But a year is a long way away. It’s goodbye for now. Who’d have thought work could be so fun?
Travelled too much. Packed too much in my backpack. Packed too much in my schedule. Time raced away from me. Tried living in the past and in the future. Found out that the present is the only place to be. Time slowed down. Life is bittersweet.
And a week is too short.
Or is it?
Soon, London won’t be my home. Soon, I won’t be surrounded by my new friends. Soon, my Google app will call Spokane my home and my iPhone will call Pacific my time zone. Soon, I’ll get to climb again. Soon, I’ll cry when I think about my new friends. Soon, I’ll long for London. Soon. But not now.
Now, I live.