So originally I wrote a WTF post about hating birds and cats, and then I went out for a few hours and realized that that is the biggest WTF of all. And I realized that I’m about to leave my study abroad—I’m writing this on Tuesday—and I think that’s the biggest WTF ever.
WTF is up with that? How did 15 weeks—101 days—pass by so quickly? I feel like I progressed from pants-shitting fear to awe to whatever-ness to joy to faded awe to peace and contentment to now. Now, I’m about to go back to America. And I’m so excited for that, but I’m also so sad to be going.
I didn’t think that I would be. I thought I would be satisfied with the amount of time I had here, and in a way I am. But I think I’m sadder that I don’t have more time. I’m sad that now that I’ve become comfortable in this place—past the point of thinking every London drizzle is quaint and being able to be enough of a resident to be annoyed with the weather—I want more time. I like being a resident; I like walking around.
I was talking to a friend—Charlie—and we were talking about time. This time has felt like an eon, and at the same time, nothing. New places always seem like such a long stretch of time, and when I think about early September—going to the gym, walking around Bankside in Southwark—doing my Halloween costume and pub crawls, wandering around museums, walking under the soft gray overcast sky. It’s been cool and fun and wonderful and nice. I didn’t have the pressure to see everything immediately and I got to do it at my own place.
And I think what I’ll miss most is that ability. Until I move into an entirely new city, I won’t have the experience of having four months to wander and discover. That’s been so crazy and weird and lovely.
And I’ll miss the growth. Before this, I was crippled by my fear of anxiety. Not even my anxiety. My anxiety about my anxiety. I was afraid of triggering it, of waking that beast. But this has been so beyond my wildest dreams and so outside of my comfort zone, that I think I shocked myself. I still have anxiety obviously, but I was able to conquer one small trigger—new places. New places used to scare the shit out of me. And I’m sure it’s something I’ll still struggle with; but I just lived across a fucking ocean for four months and managed to do it. If I’m strong enough to do that, I feel like I can do so much.
I traveled to a different country by myself. I’m not talking about England. I went to Spain for a weekend solo. I dumped myself in a country with no companions, no cellphone data, and no grasp of the local language. I’ve traveled on planes by myself, I’ve navigated in European cities. I’m gotten lost and found and lost. I’ve cooked food. I’ve never cooked food myself. Before this, I had made eggs and grilled cheeses and cereals. Now, I’ve done fried rice, pastas, sautéed shit and flipped shit and added ingredients. Who am I, Ina Garten?
Side bar: I’m so excited to binge-watch The Barefoot Contessa when I go home. That will be my Christmas break.
So I’m sad, and I feel like that’s so obvious, like “Duhh,” but I am. And I’m allowed to have these emotions. I’m glad for this opportunity, because I know that I won’t have it again in the same capacity. I’ll never again be a wild, sexy college student, traipsing around Europe for four months.
But maybe that’s good? Because there’s a pleasure in finite-ness. This is a thing, and it’s ended, but it’s been amazing and worthwhile and shocking. And it’s over, but that doesn’t negate its beauty. It makes it sad and wonderful and fleeting. And I keep saying “wonderful” but that’s what it is. It’s been full of wonder. And it’s made me full of wonder. I feel more fulfilled. I feel more independent. I feel more strong and old and opinionated and cool. I’ve gotten experience and a little bit heavier—I haven’t been working out—and cool Instagrams and amazing friends.
So thank you—everyone. Thanks to the friends that I made here, when I was dry-heaving inside and pretended to be cool so you would like me. Charlie and Millie and Jenna and Sebastien and Jenny and everyone else who I’m too lazy to give a pseudonym to. And thank you to my babes at home—Marco and Nina and Mitchell and Shelby and others—who chatted with me and made time for FaceTimes and late night chats and good times. Even though I wasn’t there, I was still there. And thank you family—Mom and Dad and Poppy and Margot—you guys are cool for sending me here. Thanks honeys.
So thank and what the fuck and I hope you’re having a good day and that you take leaps and feel fulfilled and be independent.