It was 5:15 am on the morning of June 4th, I stayed up all night long with the my study abroad family just to watch the sun come up over Big Ben and The London Eye one last time. And then, it was over. Before I knew it, I was in a taxi speeding towards Heathrow Airport too excited to get home, but fully gutted knowing that this was the end. It was Good-Bye to London, Hello Pennsylvania! Time to close the chapter on my semester abroad. And then it was back home, back to my family and friends. There is a warm comfort about the familiarity of your home town, of the people who love you. During my semester abroad my support system at home was truly unbelievable. The constant encouragement to travel, experience and see as much as I could. They always had kind words to say and waited patiently for my return. There was such a sense of pride coming home to them, being able to share my stories and adventures to every person who supported me. It seems like a dream now that I’m home. Some days I find myself saying “Did those things really happen? Did I really do all that?”. Knowing that just a mere week or so ago, I was walking the streets of London, just 3 weeks ago I was jetting off to Dublin for a weekend adventure, and just a short 5 months ago I began this whole journey. Where did time go? These last 5 months seem to go by in the blink of an eye, but every single second was well spent. It was spent between traveling the world, creating a beautiful bond with strangers, seeing sights some people only dream of, being able to call London my home and all the memories made. I never slept, only took small naps between big adventures.
Now that I’ve settled back in and reality has taken over, there are so many things I miss about London. First and foremost, I miss having the ability to always do something new and exciting to do. There was never a dull moment in London, always something new to try, a new food to taste or a new event to go to. While the city drove me crazy at times, I think I secretly fell in love with it. And it’s the exact opposite of what I missed about home. The quiet of Gettysburg, the silent hum of the night and the chance to finally seem the stars in the dark sky. I missed the simple country. I long to have the best of both worlds, the perfect mix of city buzz and country quiet. For me, the reverse culture shock did hit home hard but only on a few key subjects. Mainly, the fact that there is no place to get a fresh made scone or clotted cream. I miss cream tea, the perfect ending to an amazing afternoon. I miss the London tea rooms and I’m currently searching every town within a 50 mile radius of Gettysburg to try and find an authentic one. The biggest problem I’ve faced coming home is trying to imagine how I fit into my town, into my life before study abroad. How did I function without knowing how good fish n’ chips tasted? How did I live every day without knowing the wonders of Ryan Air or Euro Star? How does Abi after London fit back into her old life? It’s the biggest struggle, trying to settle back in knowing that I’ve lived, traveled and seen the world. But it’s the greatest pleasure knowing that I’ve accomplished so much in my life thus far. It’s that balance factor, trying to fit the best of both worlds into my life.
While my study abroad experience is over and my days in London are behind me, I’m excited for my future. This one life changing opportunity has propelled and set the bar for the rest of my life. London taught me so much about my future. I’ve learned that my heart is in International Business and Marketing, that I want the opportunities to change the world, not just the United States. I’ve seen, that the business world is a cut throat field, but I feel so alive being in it. I’ve also learned that no matter where you go, your voice matters. I know now, that I’m destined for greatness and that my study abroad experience was just the first stepping stone.
Until Next Time, Cheers from Gettysburg…