I know I kinda gave up on this blog halfway through my adventures, but it’s officially been one year since I left the US to study in Bath, England and live one of the best semesters of my life and I thought I might as well say something.
And, I don’t know what to say, to be honest. I mean, besides, it was amazing! Great! Spectacular, even. But, it’s like, how do I sum it all up? Whenever I tell anyone about studying abroad or when I got back, people (obviously) would ask me how it was, did I just absolutely love it? Did you have a great time? And the answer was and still is – of course. But I feel cheesy and not genuine when I answer in that way. I feel like I’m cheating all of the great times, all of the wonderful memories I will truly cherish forever.
I gained so much from this experience. I felt independent like I never had before. I navigated foreign cities, I bought food and cooked myself meals, I made plans and followed through with them. I did things I never imagined myself doing and ate things I probably would have said no to if I was home. I existed in this sort of “why not/YOLO” bubble that allowed me to be open to experiences that may have scared me or seemed like something I wouldn’t enjoy. And maybe I wasn’t thrilled about all of them (punting, anyone?) but I can honestly say I don’t regret anything I did abroad. And that’s probably the first time I’ve ever been able to say that.
I also made some amazing friends. I literally could not have predicted how great everyone at ASE was. My experience abroad would not have been the same without these people – to everyone single one of them: I miss you and thank you!!!
Honestly, the whole thing was surreal. Sometimes I feel like I actually didn’t go – that I dreamed the whole thing. Studying abroad was such a HUGE goal for me, it’s something I’ve pretty much always wanted to do, and finally accomplishing that goal feels weird. It feels strange to have checked things off of a real bucket list for myself – I feel a little lost now, looking for a new tangible goal I can work toward.
I’m happy to be home and be around my friends and family again, but I really do miss Bath everyday. There’s always something I can relate back, something I can compare to my experience in England. I mean, literally just yesterday I drank some sparkling apple/peach juice drink and with one sip I was transported mentally back to Bath and was reminded of the juice I would buy 2 for 1 at Waitrose and I honestly almost started crying. I had completely forgotten about that juice – in a weird twist of fate it wasn’t until a year later that I remembered it, and when I did it garnered an actual emotional response from me.
It’s little things like that make it hard to answer people’s questions about my abroad experience: there were too many details, too many little things I remember and treasure, too many things I associate with my time in England to be able to sum it up in a sentence or a blog post. It’s those little things that I think I miss the most – sitting in a park reading a book, walking down a Bath side street after buying groceries, looking out my kitchen window in the mornings, the way the light shone through my bedroom window at night and cast shadows on the wall. I don’t really know how to sum it all up or how to express how any of that feels – what I do know is that it was honestly one of the best times of my life and I literally wouldn’t trade it for anything.