Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Return

I've been home for several weeks now, and things are just... Not right.

I am busy with work and preparing for student teaching but my life just seems to be missing something. I guess you could say I am a bit "Home Away From Home Sick".

I miss the accents. I miss London. I miss my dorm room. I miss my professors. I miss William Walker. I miss my friends.

I miss Winchester.

I didn't think it would hurt me this much to be gone. I started my scrap book today and that was it. The moment that I glued that first picture on to the card stock... I knew my journey was over. Reality finally hit that I may never return to England again.

But... One can hope.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Closing Time.

Closing timeOpen all the doors and let you out into the worldClosing timeTurn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl
Closing timeOne last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beerClosing timeYou don't have to go home but you can't stay here

I know who I want to take me homeI know who I want to take me homeI know who I want to take me homeTake me home

Closing timeTime for you to go out to the places you will be fromClosing timeThis room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exitsI hope you have found a friend
Closing timeEvery new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, yeah
I know who I want to take me homeI know who I want to take me homeI know who I want to take me homeTake me home

Closing timeTime for you to go out to the places you will be from
I know who I want to take me homeI know who I want to take me homeI know who I want to take me homeTake me home

Closing timeEvery new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

This incredibly sappy moment has been brought you by, "I HAVE LESS THAN TWO WEEKS HERE". It really is my life right now. It's almost time for me to go home, where my roots are. Where my family is. I need to pack up my life to prepare for the journey back to the states. All but one thing and the most important thing I have here. Friends.

Yesterday in London, I cried. Not outwardly and not noticeably, but I did shed a tear or two. It was the last time I may ever see Big Ben. Buckingham Palace won't be a point of reference anymore. Just when I have mastered the Tube, I have to leave it behind.

I have become accustomed to life here and now I have to pick it all up and basically start over again in the States. I look to my friends here and I see them now as family, and I have to say goodbye soon.

No one ever tells you when you sign up for this that you're going to fall in love with the places and the people. No one tells you that saying goodbye to these people (perhaps forever) will be one of the most painful encounters of your life. No one tells you that you have to leave a piece of you in Europe forever.

Which only means one thing... I will be back. To be cliche, these will not be "Goodbye"s. They will be "I'll see you again one day, my friend"s. The people I have met here have literally changed my life. I have done wild and crazy things I would never do, we've become regulars at a local pub, and we teach each other new things every day. Saying goodbye will be a moment full of tears and anguish, but hope as well. Hope that miles will not alter our friendship. Hope that we will keep in touch. Hope that we will meet again.

Lucky for me, the best friend I have here (and now one of my best friends, period) lives just a state away in Ohio! Phone calls and texting will be obvious, and road trips to see each other will be inevitable. Our farewell will be sad, yes. We can't see each other every day. We can't complain about the Canteen food. We can't walk down High Street. And we can't have our late night bus ride philosophical conversations. But, we will see each other again, soon. This I am sure of.

Not so lucky for me, the other best friend I have here (and now I would consider him a brother) lives in France. That's not exactly close to Illinois. Knowing how difficult time zone difference are, keeping contact won't be easy. I keep praying that he will get an internship in Toronto, Canada. Because I can drive there if I absolutely want to. The cold realization hit me recently that soon, I can't turn around and ask, "Hey! How do you say this in French?". I will miss him, and think of him often.

Yet, my family and friends are calling. My life at home is dying to take off as soon as I land. I soon will be able to hug my father, enjoy my mother's famous potato soup, and tease my sister. I'll be able to feel the warmth of my boyfriend and enjoy some drinks with my friends. I can start making money again instead of spending it and I can begin preparation for student teaching.

All that stands in the way of my plane ride home is one 1,500 word essay, a five day trip to Paris, a test, and a presentation. And that scares me to death.

Although I am upset to close the door on Winchester, it's time. It is time to go home where my life is. I will miss you Winch. And I will never forget what you have taught me, what you have blessed me with, and what I have gained. But, I need to go home and give a hug and kiss to the two people who made this all possible.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Fundee Dundee!

After over four years of separation, one of my best friends I have ever made and I were reunited in Scotland.  She has been an exchange student my senior year in high school and we had grown as close as can be. Now, after many years of living continents away, we saw each other again in person.

At first, we nearly did not recognize each other. We had both grown so much since graduation, physically, mentally, emotionally. Yet, it was like we had never left. She and I picked things up right where we left them as if we have been carrying on together since we departed.

We walked around the city, saw some beautiful sights, and ventured up a hill that puts all other hills to shame.

That was about it for the good times in Dundee, unfortunately. I had some bad encounters with the locals, the bus station employees, and the men on the dance floor. And I'll leave it at that.

Long Time, No Post.

The only defense I can possibly create for not posting is this: The time here is flying by, and I don't want to waste a second.

I have not spent a single weekend alone in Winchester essentially since I have been here. Since Oxford and the third London trip, I have traveled to Ireland, Stonehenge, the Isle of Wight, and London and additional two times. On top of my travels, I have been buckling down with my school work as well (and that's not just to put my parents' minds at ease!). School here is very different, and it's not in my favor.

So. Ireland, the land of Leprechauns, Braveheart, P.S. I Love You, and even Harry Potter. The landscape was stunning and breathtaking and the locals were a blast. No, I didn't drink Guinness and I definitely didn't see a leprechaun. However, I did see some deadly cliffs and had a close encounter with heaven.

Just kidding. I'm actually standing in that picture. Despite my sick sense of humor, the cliffs were beautiful and so were the castles. Nightlife in Dublin was terribly pricey but the time of my life. To say the least, I miss Ireland and wish I could have spent more than a mere two days there.

I truly don't have much to say about Stonehenge, other than it was quite creepy and honestly made me uneasy. It was though, amazing to actually see a wonder of the world, as I stood as so many others have, pondering, "Why are these here?!".

It was also bitter cold and windy. So chilly that (me of all people) I had to put my camera away and warm my wind burned fingers.

The Isle of Wight was not much unlike Stonehenge in terms of the bitter cold. But it was an incredible weekend away with my friends.

Everything like anywhere in England was beautiful, old, breathtaking, and just marvelous to me. 

LONDON! My favorite city in the world. We went twice, once to see Wicked, once just because. I now know the Tube lines by heart, I say lift rather than elevator, and Big Ben and Parliament seem to to call my name.

Next post coming... NOW!

Monday, March 4, 2013

'Ello, Oxford!

Home of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, and so many other greats.

We simply strolled around the town, seeing the sights, exploring, getting a little bit lost...

We first saw a wonderful and quite quaint castle and a prison. Now however, the castle serves as a museum, and the prison, hotel!

We then walked around town, saw the campuses of the University of Oxford (there are like 30 something different bits!), and ended at Christ's Church.

For those of you unaware, Christ's Church is incredibly significant.

1. Alice Lidell (for whom Alice in Wonderland was written for) lived and played in these gardens with Lewis Carroll himself.

2. Several scenes of Harry Potter were filmed here. Most known, the Great Hall.

3. So many incredibly important people in the culture of the world studied here.