My first attempt at writing this post was at the crack of dawn in the airport as I was leaving my study abroad program to return back to the States. I got about one sentence in and immediately shut my computer as I was on the verge of tears just thinking about writing this post. But, as it is now Monday night and I have been home for a few days, I think I’m ready to finally finish writing.
You know the saying, “the Lord puts people in your life for two reasons: for love or to be used as a lesson.” Well, finding that love is a story I want to tell you all today. Let me give a little backstory so we are all on the same page.
Mid-September I packed up my whole life into two suitcases and hopped on a plane to England to begin my four month study abroad program. While I knew no one and very little about the place I would soon call home besides what I read online, I was nervous but excited for the opportunity. I stepped off the plane feeling like jetlag hit me like a ton of bricks, not knowing I would soon meet my two best friends less than 24 hours later.
I walked into the place I would call home and met the girl who would be sleeping 4 feet from me who I would soon call my best friend. Lydia is kind, giving, loving, and the definition of empathic. If you ever need a trip planned and want to make sure you have 3 back up plans just in case, she is your girl. Never did I think I would connect with someone so well and not know what to do with myself while we weren’t together. We could spend hours exploring the city, or just lying in our beds staring at the ceiling talking about life until the early hours of the morning when we knew we had to get up for our 9 am the next day.
The second day of our program, Lydia and I met Christian who we would soon adopt as the third roommate in 101. While Christian claims to remember meeting us the first day, I was so sleep deprived I only remember meeting him on the boat tour the next day. When we first met Christian, he was very to himself and quieter, but it didn’t take long to get to know the real him. He is hilarious, I genuinely don’t think I have met someone who makes me physically hurt from laughing so much. He is protective and has the most genuine loving honesty I have ever seen in a 21 year old boy.
The three of us quickly became inseparable and did everything together when we could. Whether it would be spending break time at Pret or hopping on a plane on Thursday nights and waking up in a new country. While we are all so different, we are extremely similar too. I never thought when I embarked on this experience I would meet people I knew that I would want to be in my life forever. I also never thought I would become so connected to Lydia and Christian. These two have been through more life changes and nights spent watching me laying on the floor crying more than I would like to admit.
I would like to share one of my countless favorite experiences with you from the last four months. It was our last weekend trip and we found ourselves in a quaint little English town. Saturday night we had finished watching Pride and Prejudice and smushed onto the couch in our Airbnb with glasses of wine in hand with only the kitchen light on in the whole apartment. We sat on the couch for hours reminiscing about the past four months as we knew when we returned to the city we would have to start packing up our dream lives we have been living. We all took turns talking about our favorite trips, favorite days, what we learned about ourselves since coming and everything in between.
I am a huge believer in reflecting, and I have done a lot of reflecting since I first left the US. I would like to share what I have learned about myself since I landed in the UK four months ago. I learned independence in a whole new sense of the word, and spoiler alert I absolutely love it. I was able to find myself in a city of 8 million. I learned to let go of expectations of what life is supposed to be. I stopped stressing about the little things because stressing isn’t going to make it any better, you’ll get there when you get there, so just enjoy the journey. I discovered a new love for myself and life that I didn’t even know I needed to find. And no, it’s not that I didn’t love myself in the first place, but being separated from everything you know, you don’t have anyone else to rely on for validation or acceptance or love. There are so many other things I discovered about myself during this journey, and some I haven’t even realized yet, but I’ll be sure to document those along the way too.
Okay, time to get back to the “love or lesson” saying. I found so much love during this season of my life. I met two people I didn’t have to pretend with, two people who would love me unconditionally every single moment of the day. Lydia and Christian were put in my life to teach me a new definition of love. I am beyond blessed I get the opportunity to call them some of my best friends. I could not have imagined the past four months without them next to me every step of the way. But, the time came to say goodbye, but of course we never even said those words. We just decided to say “I’ll see you soon” because that’s a promise we made to each other.
It wasn’t just them I said goodbye to, it was saying goodbye to the city I fell in love with and had the opportunity to call home. It was saying goodbye to the dream life I created. It was saying goodbye to college as I finished my undergraduate degree while abroad (yay, big girl world here I come). I said goodbye and closed the chapter on a lot of different aspects of life as I stepped back onto the plane to return home. But it was the best goodbye for each aspect of this chapter of life I could have asked for.
So, to the girl who said goodbye, I know it sometimes is hard. It can be so exciting but know it is okay to cry on the plane as you fly over the ocean to return back to the life you knew before. I know I’m not the same person I was when I left home four months ago, but I am learning so much about this new me and I am so excited for her. Sometimes goodbyes seem like a bad thing, an ending, but sometimes a goodbye could turn out to be the beginning of something amazing.