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HCJMU Abroad: Don’t Make Me Leave!

Well, this is depressing. My days in London are at their end. By the time you all read this, I’ll have already flown across the pond and will be sitting in my house in Virginia Beach… crying. But before I go down memory lane, I’ll tell you about these last two weeks I’ve spent at my second home. Since my last post about Paris, I’ve “celebrated” Thanksgiving and have basically spent every British Pound that I had.
 
Let me remind you: England doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. So of course Christmas decorations have been up since November 1st. Oxford Street is blinding with Christmas lights. Every shop window is dazzling with holiday cheer. It was really hard for us to even feel like it was Thanksgiving. Trying to find a restaurant with traditional Thanksgiving food was virtually impossible. My roommate and I hesitantly booked a reservation. Poppers, confetti, and balloons were on every table. There was no stuffing, no mashed potatoes, no mac n’ cheese, but there was turkey and pumpkin pie! Our conclusion: great effort for trying but it felt like New Year’s Eve. So if you’ve been jealous about all my excursions, I was jealous about how everyone gladly gained five pounds on Thanksgiving eating traditional comfort food and watching American football! Not to worry though, my mum’s gladly recreating a Thanksgiving meal for Christmas!
 

After Thanksgiving, I only had one week of classes and one week of finals. Great thing about studying abroad: classes start after JMU classes and end before JMU classes. (Keep that in mind if you’re thinking about having the best time of your life!) What makes me depressed is the fact that time goes so fast. My experience in Europe has changed my life and made me realize that there is more to college than Dona Rosa’s, frat basement parties and Natty Light. There’s a brilliant balance here between work and enjoying life. It was very hard for me not to enjoy life these past two weeks. In no means whatsoever did I miss searching for a parking space at ECL, sitting on the floor in Carrier, or spending all my FLEX on coffee. Instead, I celebrated the end of half of my senior year by drinking the most cider as possible (it’s horrible in the States), going to all my favorite places in the city and purchasing all of my friends and family the best Christmas gifts ever!
 
All 28 of us in the Madison House have formed a tight bond that I think everyone is thankful for. We’ve become so close as a group and took advantage of it the last two weeks together. To celebrate the fact that our journey was over, we made a trip to London’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Mulled cider, cotton candy, crêpes and churros filled us up after ice-skating for an hour. Ice-skating is a lot harder than I remember. Thankfully, if you did fall and eat ice, cute “Ice Marshalls” would come and scoop you up. I should have fallen 10 times.
 

London is a beautiful city with something to do every day and every night. Even though British food wasn’t superb, I wouldn’t change London for anything in the world. I’m going to miss all the decorated cabs and riding on the Tube. It’s going to be weird not hearing a foreign language while walking on the sidewalk. We got really lucky with the weather this semester and I managed to only get rained on twice (both times I was walking home from the club at 2 a.m.). I’m pretty sure Christmas decorations are the only thing that’s going to make me feel like I haven’t left!
 
I stocked up on luxury tea and had my share of scones and pastries. I did my last minute shopping and said my final goodbyes. Now that I have no money and failed to fall in love with Prince Harry, I have come to the conclusion that everyone, at least once in his or her life, must come to Europe. Granted, I did miss my family and friends, but I’ve made new ones here and even got a job offer! Just need to go home and graduate now and maybe I’ll be back in this wonderful city in six months. ESPN, here I come! Either way, while you read this, I’m still going to be sitting at my house in Virginia Beach, crying over the fact that my semester abroad is over.
 
Keep calm and carry on.
 
Thanks for everything collegiates™! See you at JMU this Spring!

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