I’ve been putting off writing this last post — not sure if that’s because it represents the end of my England experience or if I’m just lazy. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve thought about it to death, trying to analyze my experience and make sense of it in the long run, how it fits into my life as a whole. It’s hard to put those ideas into words because at this point they’re still kind of vague ideas floating around in my head and I can’t catch more than one at a time. Plus, I’m still too close to see how it affected me long-term. So I guess for now, I’ll just refer back to my first posts and talk about expectations and how I’m de-adjusting, or something like that.
People ask me to tell them something interesting that happened in England, or what my favorite thing was about England. There are some things that stand out a little more (bus tours around Ireland and Scotland in particular), but really just the experience of living there was the best part for me. I’m happy that I got the chance to be emerged in the culture for more than a 2-week visit. I made friends and probably now better understand the English culture than I did before.
One of the things I’m going to miss, though it sounds silly, is being automatically more interesting because of my accent. I’ve been asked if I spoke in an English accent while I was in England (because I tend to fairly often in America), but thinking back, I didn’t really. I stuck to my American accent because I became more self-conscious of how I sounded and how others sounded. Also, it was cool that I could say something in public and strangers would turn and try to listen to me. Now that I’m back in the U.S. I sound like everyone else.
I’ll miss being the stranger, but then again, it’s nice to be back in my own country and feel like I know what’s going on. In England, I always had a slight sense of confusion and being out of place. I could ask questions about food and assignments/grading, but I often felt that I wouldn’t gain a complete understanding of things that seemed foreign in three months. Being back home, I know how things work. It’s easy to slip back into routines.
Speaking of routines, I’m back in Monmouth now, and classes start tomorrow. To tell the truth, I’m mostly not really looking forward to things going back to normal. I’ve finally moved off campus with a couple friends, and it feels very grown-up to have our own apartment — paying rent and driving cars and such. But going to back to class here means I’m really back in America. England is over. (This really isn’t as depressing as I’m making it sound.) It’s weird to think that this trip that I was looking forward to for years is now a think in my past. It happened. It’s just one of my life experiences. I don’t know if I’ll go back someday, but it won’t be for a while anyway. I’m happy to be home. I missed it.