Thursday, 30 June 2016

Returning Home

          I had a 3:30 pm flight the next day, it was 9 pm and I was ready to leave. Don't get me wrong, going to London to study abroad was an amazing experience that I won't ever regret. I got the chance to see and experience different classes and teaching. I had the chance to travel to some amazing places both as a fan (of Harry Potter, of Shakespeare...etc) and see some world famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye. I got the chance to be immersed in a culture that was different and similar to my own in so many ways, where its 'take-away' not 'to-go' and where it's common to go to the pub after class. I got to travel with friends and go to a karaoke bar. I got the chance to live and laugh. It was fun, but it also made me appreciate and realize so many things in my life. I had never realized how lucky I was to have a constant source of income throughout my college life. I never realized how lucky I was to have supermarkets that sold 50 different kinds of cereal, over the counter medication, toiletries and half-a-million other things or to live in an agricultural state. I couldn't even find a replacement for Midol! (Women know why that one hurts the most!) After 6 months of only seeing my friends and family on Skype, I missed hugging my sisters and watching TV episodes with my roommate. It almost felt like London was a dream and I was ready to get back to reality.
          My flight was scheduled to leave on Saturday, and I realized the dilemma I faced on Friday. I had two suitcases, but had three suitcases worth of stuff. I had to leave my kitchen stuff (which I was going to do anyway), my bedding, some of my clothing and even a lot of toiletries. Then, as I went to do one last load of laundry, I saw that the elevator was out of order! I was on the 4th floor, Daniel was on the 7th floor and Andrew was on the 6th floor! We also each had one very large and heavy suitcase. I'm had to get Andrew to help me bring my large suitcase down, because I couldn't carry it. Then we realized that the coach/bus we usually take straight from the university to the airport couldn't pick us up that day, so we had to take our luggage through the Tube...with all of its stairs. Luckily, we only had to change lines once and a passerby was nice enough to help me with my heavy suitcase when I had to go up stairs. It took us an hour and a half to get to the airport. Then I parted ways with the guys since they had a different flight than I did. I got through security and went over to my gate. I already had one cross-Atlantic flight under my belt, so I knew to bring minimal stuff in my carry-on and to make use of the many movies, games, and other amenities on the flight. As I was waiting at my gate, I was struck by the oddest annoyance, I couldn't find an outlet anywhere. Any airport in the US has a billion-and-a-half outlets everywhere, in the walls, the seats, even the columns sometimes. As I stood there, frustrated, with my computer dead, I thought to myself, I won't face this issue for a long time. I thought to myself, it's going to be a long time before I go to an airport that doesn't have a McDonalds or a Starbucks every five gates. I'm never going to be asked to pay for anything in pounds again and have to convert to US dollars first to keep track of how much I spent. I got on the plane and as I looked out the window, I felt like I was watching looking at a screen. I was so amped up to see my family and be home that I barely slept the entire flight, and I kept watching movies and then checking my clock to see how much time I still needed to waste.
          When I landed, I looked out the window and saw skyscrapers and lights instead of green land and grey skies. I passed through customs and retrieved my luggage and then I went outside to meet my family. Immediately I was hit by the small missile that was my youngest sister. My mom and dad hugged me, we got in the car and it felt like no time had passed. We went out to eat, and immediately I was shocked at how noisy everyone was. We sat down to eat, and I thought to myself, have prices gone down? Little things kept feeling weird, but I felt home. I was so glad to regale my family with stories of traveling, of mishaps and jokes but I was really just glad to be home. I was happy to be able to hug my sister, laugh with my dad without a computer screen between us and steal a french fry off my mom's plate. London was an amazing whirlwind of excitement and traveling and adventure, but sometimes...there's just no place like home.

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