It's time to go home!

It's time to go home!

My time is up in London. These past three months have flown by, and I had such a beautiful time exploring the city! As the final days passed, everyone was in a bittersweet place: we would be heading home to see our beloved families, but we would be leaving behind this new life we had begun in this majestic city. As our final night in London approached, the intern abroad crew decided to head to our local pub for a final dinner. We sat around several pub tables, reminiscing on our experience in the city. We said goodbye to the pub locals we had become friends with, as well as the bartenders that we had gotten to know pretty well over the semester. One of our good friends, a pub local named Charlie, had dinner with us and hung out with our group for most of the night.

 

 

After our pub dinner, we all went back to our flats to finish up packing. Of course, we wanted to get the group together one last time for old times' sake, so we threw a party in one of the flats. Everyone got dressed up, we made some snacks, turned the music up and danced it out all night. Some of us eventually ended up heading to Leicester Square, to our favorite nightclub. Eventually, we decided that we couldn't procrastinate any further on our packing, so we called it a night. But hey, what's a better way to spend your last night in London, other than being surrounded by your friends?

 

My Packing ProcessI arrived in London with two large suitcases, a carry on suitcase, a duffel bag, and a backpack. I was determined to get all of my things packed in these same bags, so that meant that I had to donate a ton of old clothes. I bagged up my old clothing and took them to a clothing drive that wasn't too far from our flats. After getting rid of about 15lbs worth of clothing and shoes, I felt that I could pack everything with no problem. However, I forgot about all the souvenirs that I had purchased for my family and friends. My amazing roommates saw me struggling trying to pack everything into my suitcases, so three of them (Alicia, Ashley & Megan) decided to help me out quite a bit. The majority of the time, they were laughing at me because they agreed that between the amount of new clothes, shoes and souvenirs I purchased in London, it would be nearly impossible to pack it all without my bags being overweight. At the end of the night, after getting all my bags packed, each of my suitcases weighed 50lbs,, my carry-on was at 45lbs, and both my duffle and backpack were bursting at the seams. I prayed that I wouldn't have any issues at the airport the next morning.

 

DepartureThe next morning, it was time to leave our flats in West Kensington to head to the airport. I decided to weigh my bags one final time before taking them downstairs, and I instantly began to freak out, since my bags were somehow still a bit overweight by 1 pound. I shifted some stuff around, repacked the bags, and literally threw them down the stairs to the sidewalk. Once I was downstairs, everyone was SILENT. No one was saying a word. Perhaps it was because it was 7 a.m., but everyone was definitely keeping to themselves so they wouldn't start getting emotional. We all waited to get our suitcases under the bus, and I must say, I was pretty impressed by how much luggage the 20 of us had accumulated over 4 months!

 

 

The ride to the airport was very emotional. I'll admit it; I cried at least four times on the way to Heathrow. As we drove to Heathrow, we reminisced about all the good times we had as we drove past several London landmarks. When we finally got to the airport, no one wanted to get off the bus. In a few minutes, I knew it would be the final goodbye for me, since I wasn't on the group flight with the majority of my classmates. We all collected our luggage outside the bus, so we could walk to the terminal together. It wasn't until I had all my bags on the trolley that I realized that I was actually going home.

After we walked over to the airport terminal most of us would be departing from, we awkwardly stood around and stared at each other. Since nobody was making the first move, I decided to be the first one to begin my goodbyes. After all, my friend Anum and I had to go to another terminal, so we were on a time crunch. I started moving around the group, hugging everyone. The tears started flowing pretty heavy, and soon everyone was in a very emotional state. It was so hard saying goodbye to all of my friends! After all, we had become a big family while living in London. After hugging everyone goodbye, Anum and I headed to our terminal. We checked in, went through security with no problems, and it was soon time to board. Anum and I were able to sit together on the long 9-hour flight back to the United States. We got situated on the plane, and soon after the plane took off. As the airplane lifted into the air, I felt hot tears streaming down my cheeks. I was so upset to be leaving London....leaving all the good memories, my internship, and my friends behind.

It was a LONGGG flight home. The entire time, I was pretty much upset. If you were to see Anum and I on our flight, you would have thought we were super depressed. We both were sad to be leaving the U.K. After watching several movies, catching up on some light reading, and napping a little bit, we began our descent into Washington Dulles Airport. Although I still felt sad about leaving London, I was starting to get really excited to touch down in the United States!! It had been such a long time since we were home, and I was ready to see my family. When we landed, I once again became a little emotional, crying a little bit. But I got off the plane, shook it off, and entered customs with a big smile on my face. I was home; back in America.

So, in a nutshell...
London has been the best experience of my life. Having an internship abroad was such an eye-opening experience, and I am so glad that I decided to intern abroad through the Washington Center! My internship placement was such a great match, and gave me experience in a field that I wish to pursue in the future. The international experience living and commuting in a foreign place was another great experience, because I gained such a strong sense of independence. I feel so confident going into my future endeavors now, especially because I was able to successfully complete a semester abroad in London. If I could do it all again, I definitely would. I met such amazing people, between the other TWC students, my coworkers at my internship, and the staff at both The Washington Center and CAPA International Education. The experience I had in a professional setting was phenomenal, and I am so prepared to finish my last year in college and move on to law school!

It feels great to be home. I'm sure transitioning to life back in the States will have its challenges, of course. But for now, I'm going to relax, get acquainted with being back home, and perhaps in a few days I'll have some pointers on how to overcome the transition back into American society!
See ya later,
Sharon

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