London Photo Diary

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I can make an endless list of reasons why I love this city but telling you as opposed to feeling how I feel when I walk these streets will never be one in the same. Don't they say that when you've found something that makes you happy, you should hold on to it? I knew this living situation was temporary but I can't help but feel like I've genuinely found it. I've found happiness and it's here. Going home- back to where I've lived all my life, back to what's familiar, back to the same faces I've known for as long as I could remember is both comforting and a bit of a setback. I came here feeling like I've opened a new chapter. As if every thing I was experiencing, every individual I was meeting, and everything I was feeling was a fresh start and a step into a new direction. Going home, picking up back where I left off, and carrying on with a lifestyle I'd much rather move on from almost feels as if I'm going back a chapter. Like I took one step forward and two steps back.

Don't get me wrong, though. Life back home wasn't even bad at all. It might've even been better to be completely honest: not having to cook for myself, food on the table all the time, consistently perfect weather every day, house chores done for me, fifteen minute drives to the beach, not paying rent. Life was amazing but the way things are over here is everything I prefer. Even with the struggles of tube closures, gloomy weather, gray clouds hanging over a lot of the locals, having to haul twenty pounds of groceries across the city, not eating out of laziness to cook, being super mindful of all my expenses, the non-existence of customer service, the old homeless dude that sits by the ATM machine and begs me for money every damn time I withdraw, etcetera… Call me crazy but I've embraced it all and completely love the feeling of independence and the struggle that comes with being here.

Nonetheless, I'm so incredibly thankful to have experienced everything here with the youth still left in me. Some people wait 'til they're established and older to backpack through Europe, to take a chance and live in their dream city for a bit, which is a lot more sensible, I understand. But some people wait around so long that they don't even get around to it at all. I get called 'lucky' a lot and I guess in a lot of ways I am (I mean, let me know if you find another chick thats won Beyonce tickets, twice. Ha!). But for me, 'lucky' just discredits any effort I've put in to getting the things I want in my life. I sacrificed summer and winter vacations to work full time, took full units over the summer, took full units at two colleges at the same time to ensure I wouldn't be behind, worked all the hours I could get, had a very unhealthy relationship with my parents for a period because of my decision to study abroad, put off graduating a whole year earlier than I could have, took out a ridiculous amount of loans and put myself in debt to be here. And all of that might make me sound completely mental but after these mind blowing experiences from this past half year, I have not one ounce of regret in me.

For a long time, I've always told people I wanted to live in London without actually having even visited. After living it, it's strange to be able to say it with confidence. I love that studying abroad has made me an even more ambitious person. This whole experience is allowing me to dream bigger by placing me in this mindset that anything is possible. In high school, I was conditioned with the motto, "life is what you make it" and being aware of how obsessive I get when it comes to an idea, I'll find a way to make things happen. But for now, I guess I'll savor the last few days I have left in this dream city of mine. 
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