The first time I came to London, I felt that I needed it: needed to get away, needed to be somewhere new, and needed a city to breathe life back into me.
I came back from London a month later refueled, but feeling I needed more time: more time to grow, more time to expand... more time to be away.
And so off to Italy I went, where I did grow and I did expand.
For a while, traveling was an escape of sorts for me. But, when I started preparing for London this summer, I wasn't viewing London as a coming escape. This go around, it was a challenge, rather than something I expected to be my saving grace.
I am more than excited for my time here and I can already tell that I will leave this city, having fallen for all of its wonderful subtleties. I can also tell that the people I meet here and the relationships that unfold will be beautiful and have irrevocable value.
But that doesn't mean the transition has been easy.
As I prepared to leave Nashville, I didn't feel the need to leave anything behind. In fact, I was leaving a place that after four years had really begun to feel like home. I have relationships there I wouldn't trade for the world: people I care for immensely and invest in, and so many people willing to do the same for me. I have my spots there: my favorite little nooks and atmospheres, places that feel, in part, like my own.
I found myself landing in London a week ago feeling a dizzying cocktail of emotion. I was excited, sentimental, enthralled and anxious.
At first, I was rather annoyed with my own sentimentality. But now I'm realizing it's quite okay. I should honestly be thrilled to be a little sentimental. It just means that I fully understand and appreciate what was left behind while I'm away.
And now I have the opportunity to make the most of the coming twelve months.
The culture and art scene within London is one I cannot wait to explore. I have a small laundry list of the places I would like to see and all of the things I would like to do. And with each new relationship I make here, comes the opportunity of learning new perspectives--especially when considering the wide array of international students at my university. And what's more (the real reason I'm here to begin with), I can already tell that I will love my classes. Although it's early, I can still see their application within the field of journalism and publication. I'm already excited thinking on how this year will hopefully bring me one step closer to having a career I'm really passionate about.
Looking forward, looking back and simply enjoying the now seems to be a fine thing to do.
It'll be nice to look back on this year, feeling sentimental once again: fully understanding and appreciating what I had during my time in London. And I think it's fine now that I'm in a sentimental mood.
Enjoying and learning from this chapter as the pages turn