Dear May

Dear May,

Well, we’re well into June and I don’t really want to write to you. Writing to you means that I have been back in the States for more than a month and I’m back into the same old life I was in before I left. I’m back to the same old routine, the same Sunday mornings, the same 9-5 job, the same days that I told myself I never wanted to have again.

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It’s not as if this is a bad life, I’d never say that. It just can be a lonely one. A boring one. One that I don’t even have to think of as I go through the same motions I’ve always gone through. Rinse, recycle, repeat.

I read a quote, May, that said something that I’ve been feeling quite strongly: “I miss being a tourist in my own life.” I miss exploring the unknown. I miss being in a country where I don’t speak the language well. I miss waking up not sure as to what I’m going to do that day. I miss city life. I miss getting on a new metro/tube/subway and trying to figure out where to go when I get off. I miss interesting people. I miss the styles of strangers and wondering where they picked up their Stan Smiths.

I won’t say that being back home is all bad. I missed the easiness of this life. The way I can hop into my car and go wherever I want and not rely on public transport. The way I can get any type of food I’d ever want—including all sorts of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. But that doesn’t cancel out the longing I feel for a country that isn’t mine. It doesn’t cancel out the loneliness I feel when most of my friends are awake when I’m asleep, or asleep when I’m awake.

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May, life is strange and wonderful and lonely and exciting and frustrating and so routine it makes me want to hop on the next plane and never come back. Not until I find something that makes me feel alive again. We’ll see when that happens.

I’ll see you next year.

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Dear February

Dear February,

You were good to me, like most Februarys. Most people don’t give you the credit you deserve because they are either too cold or too bitter when the 14th comes around. But I appreciate you more and more each year. I spent most of this month traveling around and visiting cities I’ve never seen before, like Amsterdam and Berlin. Cities that I can’t wait to go back to and discover more of. I want to devour the cities until no stone is unturned.

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As much as I love you, February, knowing that you’re already gone is hurting. In a couple weeks I’ll be 25 and I still feel like I haven’t grown up yet. I still feel like I am 16, awkwardly walking down the hallway in high school wishing my acne would go away—which it still hasn’t nine years later.

I hate that you’re so short. I hate that it’s always a blink and you miss it when it comes to you.

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I made some new friends as I traveled around this month. I met Sarena in Amsterdam, as we traveled around the canals, eating as much food as we could stuff into our faces, and breathed in a city that has so much strange and fascinating history. I met Christine, Kayla, and Dan in Edinburgh. Christine challenged me as we climbed up Arthur’s Seat and as my very un-fit body huffed and puffed the hill, we made it. And it was the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. I was so proud of myself. Kayla and Dan made me feel so welcome in my Airbnb, giving me tips on places to go in the city that was now their home—at least for a little while.

And then I met up with an old friend in Berlin. One who always gets me thinking about what’s next. Makes me think that maybe I can make it here in Europe and not regret the choices I make on a whim. Not regret spontaneity and this weird internal longing I always have with a country that’s not technically considered home. I’m so proud and jealous of how much she is making the world her oyster (as much as I hate that phrase) and it makes me believe that I can do that too.

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The last week, though, I’ve felt a little out of place, February. I’ve been out of touch with people from back home and am starting to feel like I don’t quite know who they are or who I am anymore. The world has gone on without me and as I get pictures sent to me from home, more and more things look so different and I can’t quite recognize what home actually is. Is that weird, February?

I received a text message from a friend, someone who I met under strange circumstances, someone who I’ve only hung out with three or four times, someone who feels like I’ve known her my whole life instead of the past couple years, and the text made me miss my friendships more than ever. I love this town. I love my students. But I need something bigger. Something that has people and life and a car or a metro so I can get around. I need people, and as much as I claim to hate people, it’s nice being around them every once in awhile.

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February, you made me miss life. You made me miss connections as I traveled around Europe and made some good ones along the way. I appreciate you more than you know.

A Place Called Home

*Found in my travel diary 

09/22/2013

Last night I referred to London as my home. This is the first time that this has happened since I’ve been here, and to you, it may not seem like a big deal, but to me this is monumental. I went to Brighton with a friend yesterday, which is about two hours outside of London by the £5 MegaBus we took there.

Brighton and Hove is a gorgeous town with a nice beach front and wonderful, wonderful hot chocolate that I spilled all down my front. It was a cool day, close to 60’s but not quite reaching. We got off our coach and walked straight to the pier to watch the waves crash on the pebbled beach. It’s been so long since I’ve seen “never ending” water. The horizon dipped and swayed along with the waves. The English Channel looked like it was freezing and I wouldn’t dare step my feet into its depths.

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Caitlin and I watched as people went for a run and dove into the icy water and stared dumbfounded as they actually seemed to enjoy their swim. Here we were, wrapped up in jackets, beanies, and scarves while these humans are in swimming trunks and bikinis jumping into the Channel. I feared they were crazy.

Cat and I left the pier and the beach to walk along other areas of Brighton. We walked to the Royal Pavilion, but instead of being welcomed inside for free, we had to pay 8 pounds, which unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for, and instead walked around the estate. Across the stretch of grass, stood the art museum of Brighton. In the cute little space was ancient Egyptian artifacts, kitchenware from the royal families, and art projects from local residents that were absolutely stunning.

Brighton had a lot to offer on a Sunday. They had farmer’s markets, a Japanese festival, vintage festival, and lots of little bookshops for us to venture to. I stumbled across an old book that I had been meaning to read and bought for only 2 pounds. High Fidelity was finally mine.

Being outside of busy London was refreshing. It was not as overpriced and touristy as London is. There were moments where we could walk the street and not see a soul which was strange but relaxing.

As we walked along Trafalgar Street, we turned the corner and saw a stretch of wall with graffiti covering every inch of available wall space. At the edge of the wall though, there was a Banksy piece. The first one I’ve ever seen and here I was actually seeing a real Banksy with my own eyes. It was beautiful, yet framed so no one else could spray paint over it. Why they would try to paint over it is beyond me.

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By the end of the night, Cat and I were ready to go. We went back to the beach and bought another hot chocolate to warm us up and waited for our bus to come back. Brighton is a beautiful city, probably for a whole weekend I would love it, but I was ready to go back to London.

I turned and looked at her when the bus pulled up and said, “let’s go home”. Not “let’s go back to the school,” but home. As we weaved in and out of the city on our journey back, I felt a pull because I honestly feel like I belong here and I don’t ever want to leave.

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