I’ve officially made it halfway through my abroad experience! Looking back on my past month, I’ve done so much and experienced so many things that it’s hard to imagine there’s still so much to do. Welcome to London, I guess. I’m pretty sure you could live here for 5 years and still feel like you haven’t conquered the city yet.
I think it’s probably normal that I spent my first few weeks here getting comfortable in a completely new environment by using the places and faces I recognized as a crutch to aid in my immersion. The longer I’m here the most embarrassed I am of the obnoxious “American” behaviour we commit daily. From 20 people going to the British Museum together after class to doing head counts of 27 on the tube to make sure nobody is left behind, I’m starting to see my crutch as more of a set-back than an aid. The one month mark has shown me that I’ve barely scratched the surface in London and I need to ditch the crutches—and fast—if I want to get the most out of this adventure.
I’m excited to get out of the city the next few weekends—we’ve got trips to Stonehenge and Amsterdam planned—but I’m really excited for the last few weeks in London spent unwinding from work by wandering through the streets and eating at any restaurant that looks good and consulting locals for weekend destination recommendations instead of checking my guide books.
Yes, it’s scary. I’m already feeling a little anxiety about having to basically immerse myself all over again. What’s more scary is the thought of what if I didn’t re-immerse myself? The thought of having regrets once I get back to America immediately overrides any fear I have of the unknown.
I know I now have a good feel for the city. I know I can navigate through the tube like a local and I know what resources are good to point out the hot spots and the must-see (and must-skip) places in London. With my London legs finally under me, I feel like I can be free to explore like I haven’t had the guts to yet.