Traveling to a new country can be an exciting yet scary experience. I just went abroad for the first time to London to study dance which isn't what some hardcore travelers consider "abroad" but to me, it was a new adventure.
Before I left, I had made your standard All-American-Girl-Goes-To-London Bucket List:
2) Fish and Chips
3) Tower of London/London Bridge
4) Drink in pubs
5) Find my prince
Spoiler Alert: everything was checked off from that list.
It didn't really hit me that I was in another country that first week... it felt as if I was in another big city like New York City or Washington D.C. The tube didn't really phase me due to my experience with the subway and the Metro. The only really ~foreign~ things about being in London were the time difference, the crazy traffic patterns, and the cars being on the wrong side (and they ARE on the wrong side... no offense, England).
The second week, it felt a little bit more real as I was able to go do more touristy things besides just taking my classes. I was becoming more comfortable around the different areas and adapting to the social norms. It helped that England was doing well in the World Cup so everyone was out at pubs and watching the games.
Fast forward to the third week. By this time, I felt too at home. The tube? Navigated. Pubs? We were regulars at the one near the dorm we were staying at. Night Life? Never have I seen a group of girls dominate a club like we did at Roxy. Iced Coffee? Still not a thing in England (seriously guys... you simply put ice in your coffee. There's no catch. It's not rocket science.) Bucket List? Four out of five items were checked off by the start of the third week. I had lost weight and honestly, I think I peaked a little. Basically, I was finessing this city.
This trip taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted to do thanks to the "study" part of being abroad. It also made me realize what a true friend is and that professors are humans too (shocking, I know). It showed me that I am more than capable of being in a different country and getting around all by myself.
But while London gave me so much, it came with a price. "She giveth and she taketh" or something like that. As cheesy as it sounds, London took a piece of my heart and it wasn't until the end of the last week that I realized it was happening. I'll be honest, at first, I knew that while London was a great city, America has my whole heart and though the memories would be great, I wouldn't be crying at the end of the trip.
Boy, was I wrong.
I didn't realize how much this city captured my time and heart and let's just say I was a snotty mess on the plane home (my apologies to my fellow passengers). I will forever cherish the people I met, the places I've been and things that I learned in London. It's a city that I will definitely return to as it's a new home to me because home is where the heart is and London for sure has a portion of it.