I Love England … Rain and All

The past five months have held more adventure than I thought my life would ever have. I’m just a girl from a small California town who had never traveled further west than Carson City, Nevada. I’d never been away from home for more than six weeks and I’d never gone more than four days without speaking to my mom. Coming to England was the scariest thing I’d ever done, but now it seems easy compared to leaving. I still have one month left here, and I’m already getting nostalgic. When I left home I knew I would be back in six months, but when I leave here I may never return and I will never see 95% – 100% of the people I met here ever again.

I thought I would share some of the photos I’ve taken while traveling. One from every city I’ve been to in England:

I flew out of San Francisco, my first time ever being on an airplane. I got to see Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Lyme Park, Salisbury, Windsor Castle, Bath, Stonehenge, and London.

But this…

… is my England.

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Isn’t Life Grand?

            My aunt keeps commenting “Isn’t Life Grand?” on my Facebook statuses and it makes me smile every time. This past weekend was an adventure for sure. I got to explore London (for the third time in the past four months), see the Roman baths in the gorgeous city of Bath, explore the massive Windsor Castle, and see the magnificent ruins of Stonehenge. But I also spent quite a lot of time walking through the rain, killing time in a pub, sitting in a crowded bus station, trying to have a conversation with a drunken Scottish man with a very thick accent, trying to avoid being kissed on the cheek by the very same man, trying to sleep on a double-decker bus, walking the streets of Manchester at 4am, sitting in a freezing train station for hours before the sun even rose, watching my money disappear from the back seat of a cab, sitting on a freezing bus trying not to fall asleep, and sighing with a great sense of relief as I opened my front door and crawled into my bed at 10am. Then I woke up at 11am to the drip-drip-drip of my leaking ceiling.

            As much as I wish my weekend had consisted of less sleep deprivation and more sunshine, it just wouldn’t have been the same without a little bit of chaos. When I look back on the wonderful experiences I’ve had studying abroad, I’m going to think of that Scottish man, and dozens of train stations, and all that rain. And I’m going to laugh. I’m in England, and just being here is an adventure.

Over the past four months I think that what I’ve learned more than anything is that life is an adventure. I see the impact of choices more than ever, and the importance of taking risks. My biggest decision was not applying to study in England, it was not signing the papers, and it definitely wasn’t buying that plane ticket. My biggest decision was going to a little study abroad info session about a year ago. There have been so many times in my life when I have been interested in something but haven’t followed through. I’ve paced back and forth in front of buildings, walked to the door, touched the handle, and left. I’ve written emails and deleted them completely. I’ve hung up the phone before it’s answered. And now I’m thinking, what if I hadn’t? Not only is my life insanely different today than it was just five months ago, but I know that when this is all over and I’m back in the United States that my life will be different than it would have been if I hadn’t gone to that meeting.

Isn’t it just grand that one little tiny decision can have such an impact? And isn’t it grand that we have the power to make those decisions every single day?