Tomorrow I will head to SeaTac airport and fly off to London to start my year of grad school at the University of Westminster. When I think back to when I started this process, I can’t believe all those months have passed so quickly. I didn’t realize when I started that this would actually happen. It was a grand hope, but paired with a small amount of confidence that I’d get through the entire thing. There’s been many bumps along the way, a few nights of questioning if it was the right choice, many stressful hours with tears involved, but I am now ready to go and am very enthralled to start this new part of my life. This will be the fourth time I’ve been to this part of the world and I am very excited to get a chance to explore it again. I’m intrigued to see how much has changed in the last two years since I’ve set foot in London. Cities are constantly changing and I want to see what new things I can find that weren’t there before, or revisit old landmarks and see if there are visible differences from my last trip.
I am very ready to be back in my favorite place on the planet. Perhaps I am a naive, young woman, to think that London is this magical place, but when you’ve been bred and raised into this Anglophile, Harry Potter, BBC culture, it’s easy to think of London as this perfect city, devoid of any problems. I was always shown, by the media, how the UK and Europe are these fantastical, mystical lands where the scenery is beautiful and the accents are sexy. It’s really not my fault that I romanticize Great Britain as this place that is so much more fanciful than America in my mind. It also has to do with my personality. I’m a dreamer and an idealist. I see things as better or more wonderful than they actually are, and that’s why, in my head, I will never be happy sitting still in the US when I could be in the UK.
I currently feel, like my dear friend Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit, that I am literally running out the door with the few belongings I can carry, to go away on this whirlwind of an adventure. I am very scared, but I am also willing. I am willing to try this new path in life that many don’t take. Being an expat is a tough thing. It’s very hard to uproot your comfortable life and go abroad, away from family and friends, and to create a new situation from what you’ve chosen. Sometimes I get mad at myself and wonder why I can’t be happy staying where I am, content with a job I dislike and the love of those closest to me. But I really can’t. My dreams have always taken me to far away places. My mind has always been set on getting out of the Pacific Northwest and making my way East.
For a long time, I didn’t know how I was going to get away from Washington and over to England. I thought it would be impossible or too expensive. And both of those things are why I struggled so long with trying to make this happen. I wasn’t aware, as a child, that my dream of settling down in England was something so unattainable. But after countless hours of research, I figured that postgraduate studies were how I was going to be able to do it. And then I made it happen. I made my ridiculous dream come true. And maybe my youthful ignorance on the state of the world is why I think my choice is so good, but maybe the phrase “Ignorance is bliss,” is something that can apply to me in a less negative fashion.
So over the next year, these blog posts will become much more interesting, and actually from London. I will attempt to use my journalism and public relations training to write and photograph weekly stories, collect interviews and tales from interesting people around the city, and to be a sort of ambassador from the US to the UK in my writings and studies. I am currently reading the books “Londoners,” by Craig Taylor, “The Anglo Files,” by Sarah Lyall, and “Watching the English,” by Kate Fox, and my goal is to create a sort of understanding of this city, through its people, as well as the environment I’m in. My MA program is specifically guided towards writing creatively about London, and I hope to learn from being right in the heart of the city, how to accurately capture the spirit of this place, even though I am a foreigner.
So follow me, this barely out of adolescence, nervous American girl, into a new world that she hasn’t quite experienced yet. My previous life in England was up North in Chester, so other than a few trips to London, I will be a new face in this city. Bear with me as I discover how to function as a young adult in this vibrant, international city. I promise the writing and stories will get more exciting once I take the plunge. I leave tomorrow, and arrive into the city on Sunday afternoon, and my 20-something, grad student life will begin. I will dispatch all the observations of my time abroad, and hopefully create a log of interesting information for fellow Anglophiles to read and enjoy. Wish me luck!