Places in London visited recently: The Globe Theatre, the Natural History Museum, the Monument, Russell Square, Charles Dickens Museum, Postman’s Park, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Fortnum & Mason, and various pubs
Places in Edinburgh, Scotland visited: Edinburgh Castle, Sir Walter Scott monument, the Elephant House, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Scottish National Museum, the Royal Mile, and Arthur’s Seat
It has been three weeks since I first arrived in London. Half of me feels like that cannot possibly be. Three weeks down means only eleven weeks remaining. Time is dwindling, and we’ve only just begun. But the other half of me seems to be keeping pace with the tick of the clock. I was on my way home last night from a day of wandering around the city and people watching in parks, and as I stepped onto the Tube platform, I realized I felt right at home. I had slipped into this second skin of mine with no questions asked, as if it was such a natural step to take.
It’s hard to imagine going back. Three short weeks separate the before and the during, and yet pre-London life feels so distant. I may be a foreigner, but I’m not a tourist. This feels like my normal.
I may have settled into a routine here, but my days are never monotonous. I wake up, eat my meals, and attend classes at the same time every day, but each day seems to hold its own adventure, its own appeal. I no longer fill up my time with distractions, and I’ve realized that this is what it’s like to be happy on a daily basis. It’s not contentment or settling. It’s liking what you’re doing and wanting to continue doing it. Happiness.
It wouldn’t be life, though, if there weren’t some negatives. Some days, I just want to throw on an old motorcycle t-shirt and my cowboy boots. When I’m feeling stressed or lacking in writing inspiration, I want to drive around and sing along to my country music. There are so many parts of who I am that are missing from my daily life. When I stop to think about it, I truly can feel the difference that those parts make. So how can I feel such happiness in my life here and have so much of me removed? I am both people, and while I can’t imagine falling into a different routine back in the States, I know that those pieces of me that I left behind will start to fade.
Well, as a very wise lion once said, never forget who you are. (Mufasa, for any of you who are so unfortunate as to never have seen The Lion King.)
I’ve started drinking tea since coming here. All of my friends back home kept telling me I’d have to learn to love it if I was living in London, but I always resisted. But now it’s a vital part of my daily routine. (Sorry I doubted you, Emily.) I even went to afternoon tea today (that’s an actual thing, with scones and everything, and I freaking loved it.) However, that doesn’t take away from who I was before coming on this trip. I may drink tea now, but I still get hot chocolate in coffee shops. I ride the Tube every day and can make my way from one side of the city to the other with no problem (Ellie and I call ourselves Masters of the Tube), but that doesn’t mean I don’t love driving my truck.
It’s all about finding that balance between who you were then and who you are now. I was right in my last post when I said that you can’t build yourself a new reality when you’re traveling. It’s not building a new house, it’s just adding to the one you already have. Life is leading me to where I need to be, and I need both the happiness I have in London and the pieces of who I am in America to lead me there.