On London

Today is December 19, 2016. On December 19, 2015, one year ago, I arrived back to the United States of America – cried at customs, hugged my brother and parents harder than I ever had before – and thanked God a few extra times for the invention of the SUV. It had felt like forever since I hadn’t had to have walked to and from “home”, since I had seen an Egg & Cheese on a Croissant as an option for a breakfast food, since I didn’t have to worry completely about myself in an airport, since I wasn’t alone.

I was proud, I was independent, I had learned to grocery shop before Sundays – learned that Gin and Vodka have significantly different effects when mixed with Club Soda, learned that Nachos are an American thing (trust me), that sitting and risking ruining laundry in a dryer is significantly better than risking sending it out to a service when you aren’t native to a country (and don’t have a landline), that radiators aren’t half as good as a central heating system, walking can (and will) always clear your mind – and taking the tube to class takes 5 minutes longer, but is totally worth it in the rain.

I had grown, a lot. I was extremely aware of it while it was happening, which was the cool thing, I think. I had this scary, naive feeling that I had finally figured it all out, cracked the code, won the game.

The past year since I have returned to the States has been a rollercoaster of a journey – as everyone always describes a long span of time it seems nowadays. I have fallen in and out of love, lost and gained friends, started internships, failed exams, coasted through classes, worried about boredom, broken down and cried a few more times than I ever expected – I have been scrappy, I have felt extremely little, I have felt young.

Before you start to think that this is a post telling you not to go abroad, or that going to London in particular is a perfect way to legitimately ruin your life – let me finish, please.

This past year has been a rollercoaster, yes, but it has been a year.

Looking back on London, on my return one year ago – the entire experience seems clean, like watching an old movie you know the ending to, that you like the ending of so you keep watching it because you know it will make you happy – and I realize that memories, in general, are all like that. Everything is safer in the past, because everything in the past is figured out. It has happened, you have fallen off your bike, and yeah – the scrapes hurt, really badly, but you’re standing – or at least hopefully not still on the ground (in that case, get yourself a bandaid or something!), you’re stable enough to know you’re okay. It’s just a scrape, you’ll live.

I think its important for us to remind ourselves how human we all are. Because we all are, human, that is. We’re all growing constantly, and the only way to do it sometimes is to get roughed up every once in a while – to fall down, to cry a little, to write a blog. I’m a firm believer in the fact that we’re all on our own individual journeys, and the key to being happy is to be completely okay with the exact page you’re on.

So today, it’s been one year since I returned home from London. Currently, I should be studying for an Advertising Management final that I have Wednesday (prayers are accepted during this time of extremely low motivation) but I am writing a blogpost on this site that I really feel like is a good idea to have. Bravo is on in the background, my dog is fast asleep on the kitchen floor, I am in a chair that wasn’t here last year, writing on a computer I didn’t own last year, in socks from 2013.

I am mismatched, and I am happy. I look forward to the day I can return to London, but remember the intense feeling of joy when I saw my family with signs in Boston Logan Airport one year ago, the feeling of completely and utterly knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

There may not be signs right now, and I may not be in an airport, but that contentment is a feeling I am lucky enough to say I feel at this very moment, still.

Hope you all do, too 🙂

Talk to you later,

 

Catherine

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