A few days from now will mark the end of the second month of our trip to London. As the semester progresses into finals and we have to say goodbye not only to the families and our new friends, but to the city who took us in for two and a half months. There has been a bit of a divide in our class: those who are counting the days down until they can go home and those who are hoping that neither their visas nor their money would ever run out. I can sympathize with the first group, but I’m definitely in the latter.
Whether it’s that their money is running dangerously low, or they miss the comforting familiarity of home, I understand where they’re coming from. For some, this their first time out of the United States and for most it’s the first time being on their own. That’s a scary prospect. And to do it five and a half thousand miles away is admirable. But they’ve all made it (hopefully not jinxing anybody for the last three weeks), and they’ve all had amazing and probably life changing experiences, not just in London but in all the places they’ve gone in Europe as well.
My group has a lot of different reasons for being a bit apprehensive to return home. Some may have unfinished business: a sight not seen, a friend they didn’t connect with, or maybe have found a future home in this hectic, beautiful mess we love called London. Whatever the reason may be, when a member of the first group excited yelps out how many days we have left, we die a little bit inside. Some can take comfort in the fact that this is not the end of their adventure. They have planned out their travel visas and will spend more time in the UK and Europe. While I’m returning to the States, I’ve got another month until I actually get back home. Some just have to be dragged metaphorically kicking and screaming back to a job, summer school, or some other obligation. I feel for these people.
No matter which group we fall in, however, the point is that we’re very close to being able to say we’ve done it. About half of Americans don’t even have a passport, and if they do ever get used, it might only be for short periods of time, thirteen European cities in two weeks or something like that. While almost everyone left the country for Spring Break, we all had time here to experience — though, probably not fully — what it’s like to live in London.