Birthday Special

Birthday Special

September 5, 2010

Well I'm at the close of another week in London, and it's been an exciting one.

But this post isn't about that, I have to take this time to recognize my group/flat mates. I turned 22 this past Monday (a bank holiday, lucky me!) and they surprised me Sunday night with a homemade cake and supplies for beer pong. London, though fascinating, I have found to be one of those cities that is not personal in the way that DC is. It holds a lot of great places, history, beautiful weather, and excellent food/beer but it is not a homey place. The streets are mostly clean and relatively safe, so it's easy to be outside. The people are active in parks and cafes as well, I can't say you ever feel alone in London. If anything else, you'd probably ask for some space. Though despite London feeling "lived in" and loved by its people, it's not the kind of place openly loves you back. You have to earn London's affections. It's a bit early for me to go too deep into a description, I just haven't spent enough time to have this city "figured out" when determining it's personality. But the point that I'm trying to make is that I realized this week that for three months, London is my home. I am now in my twenties, and out of particularly exciting birthday landmarks for a while. I buy groceries here, go to work, go to class, and get annoyed when tourists are stopped in a bad spot on the Tube. I live here. I am a temporary Londoner, and the city regards me as someone who ought to know where to go to get what I need. There is no hand-holding in London. Well, the only thing I needed on my birthday was some comfort, something to make me feel like I am welcome in a less than welcoming city. That's where my group-mates come in. (Remember them? I mentioned them at the beginning of this paragraph). On a day that I expected to pass with no particular significance, I was confirmed as being a part of a family outside of my family. They not only went out of their way to make me say "happy birthday" but actually to do it in a way that would make me feel welcome. Beer pong may not seem like a very significant way to spend one's time, but it's a regular comfort of my home. Not a weekend has gone by the past year or so that I don't get a call/text/drop-in invitation to play a few games, listen to music, and just be with my friends. It's a staple on my weekends, and my involvement in it bookmarks me in those weekend mass-texts when someone is looking for a hangout buddy. So when the group I was put into less than a month ago arranged an event that is well-rooted in my Florida life, I felt cared for. I'm three thousand miles, five time zones, and 1500 megabytes a week away from my home country. But that night I remembered that I do, still, have a home.

So to Regina, Ryne, Sarah, Megan, Eric, Jeremy, Kelsey, Ashley, Marfo, and Josh: Thank you and I love you all. Being here wouldn't be the same without you.

My London Family

To those of you reading this post as future TWC-ers or any prospective travelers, never underestimate the importance of roomie relations. Three months abroad is a commitment. It's a long time to be without the people you are closest to, so make sure you are ready to put in the effort to forge new and meaningful friendships, as well as appreciate all the new things they have to offer and are bringing into your life.

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