I am sorry if this post is a bit mushy, but I have been feeling a bit sentimental as of late about leaving. For awhile I was too stressed to have time to feel sad (too stressed with finals, revising, packing to move out, and traveling), but now that things have quieted down a bit - my traveling done except for my trip home, and the packing nearly finished, I have had time to take things in, and realize what a great place and what great people I am leaving.
I have met some of the nicest, most caring people this past year, and have met up with so many people willing to share their experience living on this side of the world and sharing their culture. I knew this experience abroad would be a great one, but I didn't realize how much of an impact it would make on me, or even exactly what study abroad would entail. Now, as this year I've been waiting for since I was in high school comes to an end, I find it hard to sum everything up....how I've changed, what I've come to notice or realize about the rest of the Western world, or even about the U.S. itself.
I would like to think that I've learned a lot more about patience and understanding...I do let my emotions get the best of me still, but I hope I have learned (and can continue to improve on) my patience and understanding for others.
I also like to think that this year abroad has also taught me some different ways to live - different ways to do laundry, cook, think about things...that may seem very broad and general, but the food I've had in Europe has made me realize you don't always need sugar or salt to make something taste good, and that there are other ways to do laundry besides tumble dry (which is more common in the US than elsewhere, and uses a lot of energy).
This year abroad has also made me much more literary-minded. Not only have I been introduced to authors not commonly discussed or advertised in the US, I've also come to realize how literary-focused or attentive the rest of the world is compared to the US. It's also been a great experience to use books and authors as a guide for traveling around, basing some of my travels on going to author's hometowns and learning more about them and where they grew up.
This 'goodbye' to England post is a bit rambly and disjointed, which I apologize for, but there really is no clean and nice and easy way to sum up my time here. In a meek attempt to do so....I would say that I spent my time abroad as if I would never visit Europe again. And while I'd love to come back and visit, money is not always in excess, and with the benefit and aid of student loans, I like to think I definitely lived my year abroad as if I may not come back - I traveled a lot, and tried to make the most of everything.
While I do have some small regrets, like wishing I had made a better effort to make more friends, and thinking I could have gone out and enjoyed my time with others rather than focus so hard on my studies, I can't change anything, nor would I take anything back about my time here.
All in all, I learned a lot about other cultures, other ways to live, (and other authors!) but I met some amazing, sweet, friendly people this past year, from all across the globe, and that experience - making such good friends, and getting a chance to spend a year with most of them, was definitely the highlight of this past year abroad. And while I love Norwich, and love England, it is the people I've met here that will be the hardest to say goodbye to. It will be/has been incredibly hard to say goodbye to them and all I can hope is that the cheesy saying of 'goodbye isn't forever' does ring true (as much as it can) and that I can once I again travel and visit all my new friends again, wherever they are in the world :)
|Most of my flat and I at our leaving/end of year party :)|
Well, for this blog (for now) you can expect more travel posts (once I get back to the States and sort through my mess of photos) as well as some more videos. After that...who knows? I might have to turn this blog into something else...not sure what yet, but we'll see where the road takes me, I guess ;)