I remember my first day arriving in London. It feels like it was yesterday. It was about 90º F outside as I lugged my suitcases up four flights of stairs thinking, “Am I going to have to go up these stairs everyday?” Well, I’ve been home for about a week now and I actually miss those 65 steps to get up to my room.
One of the first things I did when I got to London was walk down St. Alban’s Grove where our Kensington campus and housing arrangements were. I thought to myself, “How am I going to figure this place out and not get lost?” But with time, this all became so easy to me. I can now ride the Tube with my eyes closed; I can walk to Kensington Palace without ever thinking if I needed to go left or go right.
London has become more than just the place I was studying abroad in — it has become home.
As I write this blog after being back home for a week, I recall dragging my overweight suitcases down the stairs (make sure to pack light on your way to London, you may buy a lot!). I cried as I hugged my best friends so tight before leaving to get in my taxi, and then again as we drove away from Atlantic House, thinking, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so difficult?”
Here are 6 things I’ll miss from studying in London:
1. St. Alban’s Grove
I will miss strolling down the street everyday to get coffee and to walk to class. I will miss seeing a friendly and familiar face, no matter what time of day it is. I will miss the beautiful flats on every corner. Most of all, I will miss Atlantic House and the place that has housed me for the past four months.
2. Early Morning Flights
As much as I hated getting up at 2 AM for a flight, I am going to miss waking up that early and even sleeping in airports at times. It’s not everyday that you are able to travel all throughout Europe with your best friends. I will miss it more than you know.
3. The Gloucester Road Tube Station
Oh, what would I do without you, Gloucester Road station? Even through your Circle and District Line was closed many weekends, thank you for getting me from place-to-place all over London. My experience would not be complete without you.
4. Kensington Gardens
I will miss the walks in the rain and the sunshine, as well as the study sessions. Kensington Gardens have been a place where I could go for a bit to relax and destress. I have seen some of the most amazing sunsets here, and the views of the palace are ones that I will never forget.
5. The City of London Itself
Thank you, London, for being a place where I can just walk around and think. I will miss hopping on the Tube and traveling as far as I wanted to explore the beautiful food, culture and sites in this gorgeous city. London is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. I will miss its friendly people, and stopping at every possible phone booth to take a picture.
6. Most of All, My Best Friends
I’ve never met a group of people who are so loving and supportive of each other. Being in one place for four months, your friends abroad are some of the people you can rely on most. You are all in the same position. My study abroad best friends have the biggest hearts. Each and everyone of the people I have met along this journey brings joy to my life, all in different ways. I will miss the endless laughs, love, and adventures. I am beyond grateful to have met each of them through this experience. It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later. I love you all so much.
I don’t know how I will be able to explain this experience to my friends and family, because studying abroad is truly something so special that no one except you can understand. All I know is that this experience has shaped me into the person I am today and has changed me for the better.
To St. Alban’s Grove, and to London, you will always be home. To say “thank you” is not enough for the impact you have made on me. Until we meet again.