Well, I’m officially back in New York. I have been since about 7:30ish pm Standard Eastern Time on Wednesday the 22nd. Since then I’ve been a little busy/jet-lagged.
So here’s the low down on the last few days.
Tuesday: Jeremy, Peggy & I went and had lunch at O’Neill’s. My favorite flatmate ending up having to leave for Liverpool really early in the afternoon (though her flight for Amsterdam wasn’t until 6am Wednesday) so Peggy & I met her at the coach station (I had to buy my coach ticket for Wednesday anyway to Manchester Airport). Saying goodbye to her was hard.
Afterward Peggy & I met back up with Jeremy had had some icecream. That evening I hung out with the gang and had dinner at Roper Hall.
I walked with Devin & Britney back to Whitendale (our hall of residence) – Devin was going to study for her exams Wednesday, and Brit wanted to get her pillow for film night. So I said goodbye to Devin then.
Then Brit & I went back to Flat 40 for horror film night.
Wednesday: I got very little sleep and got up around 6am to get ready for the day/do some final clean up. Jeremy came round for tea at 7am, Peggy came over round 7:30. Around 7:45 we walked down to the courtyard with my luggage. I dropped off my room/building key, then hung out and talked with them until the taxi that Jeremy called for me arrived. The taxi arrived so that really meant it was time for me to go. Saying goodbye to both of them was really hard. I tried not to cry, but, you know.. it happened.
The taxi dropped me off at the coach station, I hulked my luggage (now two big suitcases and my one carry-on… how did I obtain so much more stuff?!) inside and waited for my coach. On the ride to Manchester airport (about 2.5 hours) I slept on and off. Checked in at the airport, got some lunch and waited around until my flight to Heathrow. 45ish minutes later and it was time to chill at Heathrow airport. I wandered around, got a small bite to eat, had a cup of camomile tea to calm down. Being overtired and sad about leaving… not a good combination. The time to board my flight came, the walk from the terminal to the plane was.. interesting.
First; they had a dog sniffing everyones carry-on/bags. Then there was Border Force. One of the ladies on the Border Force pulled me aside, asked me a few questions (about my money – how much I had, was I holding any for anyone else, my bag – if I packed it myself, was I carrying anything for anyone, what I was in the UK for, how long was I there etc etc… very strange). Once on the plane we sat there for a good 40-45 minutes after it was supposed to depart. Apparently due to the departure runway being pretty busy.
They served us dinner shortly after we were in the air, whilst I ate I watched “Warm Bodies.” Love that movie. Then I started watching “The Hobbit” and I ended up passing out, lack of sleep had caught up to me. The flight was a total of about 7.5 hours.. I slept for about 4-4.5 of it. Then of course there was customs, then baggage claims. By 8/8:30 I was on the road with my mom, dad, and grandfather back to my house. We arrived shortly after midnight.
Thursday: I unpacked a bit, and revised for my exams that I would be taking on Friday. We also had a family dinner at the Gourmet Cafe, it was all you can eat Pasta Night (delicious – everything is made fresh for you, right there, you get your choice of pasta/veg/meat/seafood/sauces… etc).
Friday: I had my two exams, I unpacked/reorganised a bit more (when I walked into my room Thursday morning around 12.30am I was sort of surprised by how much stuff I had. It feels like I have way too much, considering I had just come back from living with 1/4-1/2 the amount for four months), then Friday night I hung out with my mom and we had dinner then went to the Cinematheque Theatre (a local, independent theatre in town – I love it!) to see “The Big Wedding.” Which was hilarious.
Which brings me to yesterday, Saturday. I had not done much at all yesterday due to jet leg really catching up to me, I slept a good chunk of the day. It does not help that it’s been raining all day, and the rain relaxes me and makes it easier to sleep. Hah.
Adjusting to my “new”/old surroundings has been interesting. It’s sort of like, reverse culture shock.
It feels weird being back, it doesn’t really feel right. No British accents, no cars driving on the left side of the road, no pound currency, no pubs within walking distance, no UK locals/European internationals/best flatmate ever within walking distance, no supermarket within walking distance. I have to drive if I want to get to the city next to my town (well, I could walk, but it’d take like.. half an hour/forty-five minutes as opposed to 10-15). If I want to get anywhere really, I have to drive.
Crossing roads here I’ve noticed that I instinctively now look right first instead of left. This morning, I woke up, walked out of my room thinking I was back at Whitendale and figured I’d see my flatmate Chrissy or Craig in the kitchen. Then I saw my dogs and was like; “Oh, yeah.. I’m in NY now.”
It’s funny how some things became so automatic, and now, I have to get used to this way of life once again. As I said, it doesn’t feel right, but I suppose I have to get used to it.
Saying goodbye really stinks, and is really hard. How do you say goodbye to some of the most wonderful people that you’ve ever met, that you might not ever get to see again? How do you say goodbye to them and the place that you’ve felt the most comfortable in, and have become accustomed to calling it home – but might never see again?
How do you accept the fact that the physical place of residence that you’re going back to, seems like nothing compared to someplace else. How do you accept the fact that the job that you’re going back to, potentially won’t provide you with the same sense of satisfaction as being somewhere else that’s awesome (even though you couldn’t find work)?
Most of all, how do you say goodbye to a place and people you’ve grown to love and adore – gracefully. Without sadness, without tears? Here’s a top tip; you don’t.
It’s really hard, really, really hard. Tears are generally inevitable. Though it’s important to remember that you’ve done something that you’ve (hopefully) always wanted to do, and you’ve made some great lifelong friends, and you had a good time. There are plenty of ways to keep in touch. Also, making such great friends in another country, gives you a viable reason for going back someday.
I’m super thankful that I was able to finally be in England, though it feels like the time was much too short. I met some wonderfully amazing people whom I’ll never forget, and I had some really awesome times.
I know I’ll be returning as soon as I possibly can.
Since my study abroad experience is now over, I’m not quite sure what will become of this blog. I may keep it as a travel blog for other adventures I’ll embark on.. even if they’re not overseas adventures for some time. We will see, but I’m fairly certain that’s what I’ll do.
Until next time,