Sitting here at my kitchen table after 23 hours of traveling makes the last month of my life seems like a dream. It’s hard for me to think about how the trip I’ve spent so many months planning and looking forward to is already over. It didn’t take long for my little flat in Notting Hill and the people inside of it to feel like home, and I’m fully prepared to find adjusting back to life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to be a tad difficult. I completely agree that London is one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the world, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to experience life in a city like that. Learning to adapt to a new style of teaching at my University as well as a new style of living has not only improved my sense of direction (it’s about time), but it also gave me the chance to realize that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could.
In addition to learning about life in London, I also had the opportunity to experience a weekend in Amsterdam and a night in Liverpool. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with the best food and the most carefree people I’ve ever met. I strongly believe we could all learn a thing or two from the Dutch. On my second to last night, my sister, one of my roommates, and I took a spontaneous trip to Liverpool. Liverpool might rank as one of my favorite cities I visited. Although it is still in the same country as London, life there is very different. It has achieved a nice balance between being a port city, having a fantastic nightlife scene, and maintaining a suburban culture. Everyone I met was so eager to help and share his or her stories with me, plus Liverpool has a fantastic music scene (see: The Beatles).
Overall, living abroad is something I think every single person should experience once in his or her lives. Putting myself in an unfamiliar situation where my way of living isn’t the most widely accepted one has opened my eyes to entirely new perspectives, which will benefit me in my future career and in any future relationships. I’ve developed the strange sensation of increased pride for my country combined with an increased awareness of its flaws. My greatest hope is that all of the different skills I’ve learned and practices I’ve come to admire will not be lost in my life over here. I’m confident that this will not be the end of my travels!