I recently packed up my pictures, my old plane tickets, train tickets and other travel souvenirs, tucked them neatly into a large manila envelope and sent them back to California. I didn’t want to throw them out but I also didn’t want to have to carry them around all summer for fear that I might lose them somewhere along the way. Today, I was sifting through my drawers, throwing old papers into the recycling bin when I ran across one lone ticket tucked away in my drawer:
My ticket from San Francisco to Heathrow. Fitting that it was the one that stayed behind, and a bit crazy that I had that ticket in hand nine months ago when I first arrived in London. Everything was so different then. I was excited, I was scared and I knew no one. I remember moving into my residence and wondering if this was the right decision: leaving my family, my friends, everything that I had known to move to a foreign country where my ‘bedroom’ was a shoebox and my ‘flat’ was reminiscent of my dorm when I was 18 years old. Now? Well, I couldn’t be more sure about my decision. Without a doubt, the best decision that I’ve made in my life. All of the experiences that I’ve had here, all of the places that I’ve seen, all of the knowledge that I have gained, and — above all — all of the amazing friends that I have made. Life-long friends.
Last night, in honor of the last social policy exam, our Social Policy and Development MSc program got together for a goodbye dinner. It was held in the lounge of my residence, casual and fun with Sri Lankan food (from a place in Harrow) ordered in for the 40 attendees.
We all chatted away for a few hours before saying our goodbyes. I don’t know that it really dawned on me until that last moment that for some of these people, it would be the last time I would see them. People are heading home for the summer: to Sri Lanka, Mexico, Peru, India, Korea, Thailand, Ghana and while some are coming back for graduation in December, that isn’t the case for everyone. I felt a really unexpected sense of sadness. I knew I would be sad, mind you, but I had no idea how hard it would be to part ways with some of these people. Most of us came here knowing no one, all of us from different countries, different backgrounds and with different goals. Yet, it only took a few weeks for us to bond and to become friends. We worked together like a little family and the girls in my program that I have become close with have really become some my best friends. Not only do we have classes together, we study together, we grab lunch/dinner/drinks (sometimes even breakfast!) together, we shop together and I call them when I need to talk. We’re even planning a road trip for next week! The thought of not seeing them every day? Actually a bit depressing. Luckily, we’re in a time when facebook, email and Skype make it a thousand times easier to stay in contact, but nevertheless, I’m going to miss everyone… Goodbye, my SPDers!
Some snapshots from this year:
Moral of the story? Time flies. I’ve definitely tried to enjoy every day here and the time that I’ve been lucky enough to have, but it’s still absurd how quickly time goes. It seems like yesterday that this year began and now I’m packing up my room and saying my goodbyes. Despite my sadness about departing, my friend, A., put up a facebook post (I believe it’s attributed to Dr. Seuss) that perhaps said it best:
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
If ever there was a reason to smile, this year was surely it.
Love from London,