The honeymoon phase is over, my friends.
Please understand, I love London. I love England. I love how smart everyone is, both with their attire and their intellects. I love waking up to English foxes in the garden out back and drinking tea every night with my host mom. I love the never-ending possibilities of this lifestyle and the depth of opportunity here.
I love London.
But I miss home. I miss my parents’ new kitchen creations and wrestling with my niece and nephews. I miss being able to hug my friends and tell them it’s all going to be okay. I miss knowing where I am and who’s around me all the time. Perpetually exploring a city so massive you’ll never really know it is amazing. It’s fun and exciting and captivating. But it’s exhausting.
Would I go home right now? Absolutely not. I never want to leave this place. But do I wish I could be in two places at once? More than anything. It’s so strange to say it, to admit it, but I miss America.
When I got to school this morning, I finally checked my mail and my mom had sent a card and a mysterious package. I opened the card downstairs in the student lounge. It was just a casual hello, giving me an update on the family’s garage sale preparations and sending me warm wishes. I read through the first two sentences, though, and found myself crying. Immediately removing myself to the loo downstairs, I read the rest of her letter and was stricken with an immense longing for my mom and for home. I was shocked at myself, both because it normally takes a lot for me to cry and because I thought I had been adjusting to being away quite well. Apparently not.
I pulled myself together, telling my tearful reflection in the bathroom mirror that sitting in London crying about not being in America was absolutely pathetic and to get my life together. I settled for an exterior mix of heartless drill sergeant and sentimental pansy, but melted all over again finding in the package she’d sent a small journal. “Just for jotting thoughts! Love, Mom.” I have the bestest mommy. I wish I could hug her.
The day started looking up as I made my way home and found an adorable man playing Jason Mraz songs on his guitar in the Leicester Square Tube Station. “Life is meaningful. Life goes full circle. Life is wonderful.” That it is, you wonderful homeless man. That it is.
I was cheered even more when I got to witness a fantastic Tube Slamming on the way home. For those of you who don’t know of the tube, London’s underground trains can be quite unforgiving for last-second boarders. Thursday’s episode was that of a small-framed, middle-aged woman who really shouldn’t have been wearing bright pink lipstick and six-inch heels on a Thursday at noon. To my delight, I had a front-row seat as she came rushing down the stairs and leapt into the train just as the last beeps were sounded and the doors slid closed. She almost made it. They always almost make it. Maybe if she had just turned a little bit… She took the first step, the second step, shoulders almost in… BOOM. Tube Slamming. While the doors do slide back open (after crushing your shoulders, spine, and ribcage), the tube’s victims are probably left sore (or hospitalized) for a few weeks after these incidents.
While painful for the Slamming victims, though, the whole thing is quite entertaining for spectators. Why? I really don’t know. There’s just something so comical about watching someone dive into a crowd of people on a disgusting train, even though there will be another departing from the same place for the same location in two minutes, and getting the guts knocked out of him or her. I swear I’m not as disturbed as this probably makes me sound. Or maybe I am. Oh well.