In spite of my excitement to see Paris I am sad to leave London. I’ve been in London since January 4th and have seen it pass from a bleak winter to a rainy summer. I arrived in time for the first major snow fall and witnessed a city stunned by snow and utterly lacking in salt and sand or anyway to deice the sidewalks. I lived through the long months of January, February and March when a clear sky was a rare sight and had to purchase a sunlamp. I saw the first snow drops tentatively appear in Regents Park and the tulips that followed them. I leave just as the roses enter full bloom.
Five to six months is more than long enough to learn to love a place and to ache to leave it. The semester passed so quickly I can scarcely believe it is over. My time studying English in the University of London English was a nice change from the smaller English department at Smith College. I enjoyed being at a larger university and meeting a far greater number of people then I would have at home. It was incredible to be in such a large city where I could see so much theater, art and other things.
I am always sad before the start of a trip, a deep sort of heart aching pain. Inevitably traveling means leaving somewhere else and often that place is dear. My sadness eases as soon as I begin. My feelings this time are compounded by the fact that I will not return to my home city of Austin Texas for another three months. Home is a funny thing when you’re a college student. Over the last three years I’ve spent more time in my college town, Northampton Massachusetts, then I have in my hometown, Austin. I always go home for a week or two at Christmas to see my family and then a couple weeks in the summer. I’ve just spent a longer uninterrupted period of time in London then I have at home or at Smith since I started college.
Moving around so much has meant that I have had to say goodbye a lot but it has also shown that there are people I care about enough to say goodbye to. I’ve made friends I care about in London, I have friends waiting for me back at Smith, I know my family in Austin loves me and I am about to begin traveling with a dear friend. I begin my journey knowing that I am loved and that there are places I can return to. I look foreword to the new places I will see and the new friends I will make in the weeks to come.