It has been a little over a week since I landed back in the US from good ole London-town and it has definitely been a weird experience. I love being home and being able to see all of the friends and family that I have missed so much since I have been gone, but I often have the thought in my head of when my plane is going to leave to go back home to London. Being able to live in London for such an extended period of time and having the opportunity to incorporate myself into their community made leaving so much more difficult because I felt like I established a sense of home there, so having to pick up and leave kind of stunk. I think that the one thing that has helped to make the transition back into my community on Long Island is the fact that I have yet to have a day that I am not doing something. My days so far have been packed with family parties, seeing friends and day trips to New York City as well as working. The fact that I have been able to keep myself busy at a similar pace to which I was going in London has kept me from getting too bored and distracted from the fact that I no longer live in London.
The first thing that everyone that I saw for the first time when I got home was that I seem like a different person and I could not agree more. The thing that changed the most about me was how I now hold myself, converse with people and overall act. It is the maturing experience of being able to live alone in a foreign country as well as being able to figure out everything by myself. These were all things that my family and I discussed when I sat down with them to talk about how I am reincorporating into society in the US. We discussed all of my journeys along the way and how the changes that I have undergone while being abroad are not things to be afraid of but things to embrace and things that I will hope to pass along to them. My family understands that I am going to act and need more time to be more and do things by myself, even though my mom might not want to let me. There were so many things that we talked about but the only thought that went through my moms head was that I was home safe and sound.
Being back in America has definitely been a weird experience because I feel like I have to start the whole rite of passage experience over again, getting acclimated with this new yet familiar place and assimilate and create our new place within our communities as different and changed people. Although I do enjoy being back home there have been so many things that I often compare back to London and think about how London was so much better in certain aspects, like public transportation etc., than here at home. For example, when I left for London I thought that I would be lost without a car because my entire childhood was me waiting to get my license so I could drive wherever I wanted whenever I wanted, but since coming home from London I don’t have the same outlook on driving. Yes, I do enjoy driving like I used to, but sometimes there are moments that I wish I could just be chauffeured around in a taxi or hop on the tube and be able to just sit and not have to pay attention to where I am going, instead I could just go. Then again, being home and being able to sit outside and listen to birds chirp instead of honking horns, or look out my window to endless vineyards instead of the side of another brick building is the trade off for some of the things I loved and disliked about London and coming home.
I chose to share a quote that I felt described my experience abroad perfectly by Ibn Battuta. She said, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Everyday I walked out of my flat I was left speechless by the shear beauty of London. I was constantly amazed by all of the places I traveled to and from and never knew how to put my amazement into words. But now that I have come home I have so many stories to tell and experiences to share with all of my friends and family to leave them speechless and wanting to go explore themselves.