Genevieve Rice is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An English Literature major at Anderson University, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
In this week's post, Genevieve reveals her thoughts and expectations surrounding her fall semester abroad in London, along with the growth she anticipates for herself.
I always loved plane rides. Growing up, I was always so excited for every trip because of the unique feeling of whizzing through the air at immense speeds. However, as I have grown older, I have learned to like them for a different reason. Airplane rides are a guaranteed time to simply sit in one’s own thoughts and process what is coming and what has been left behind. After a while, I always get bored of the movies or my book, or even of listening to music, so I just sit and think. I ended one of these amazing processing times on my flights to London a few days ago. I thought about what I had left behind this semester, all of the things that I will be missing at my university.
I thought about my family and how they will have changed by the time I come back. I thought about my friends that the fun memories that they will make. I know from experience that life will continue on back home even when I am not there, so when I return, things will be different and so will I. I also thought about how that is not necessarily a bad thing. I know that it is a little early in the semester to be thinking about going back home, but I like to think ahead. This means that I also like to think about the amazing things that I am going to see this semester, too.
On my long flight, I thought about what my internship will be like. I wondered about my roommates. I imagined what the layout of my apartment would be. But most of all, I thought about the Tube ride to get from the airport to my apartment. Suffice to say, I was doubtful of my capability to make the trip with my extremely heavy carry-on and slightly overweight suitcase (I’m actually pretty proud that they let me check it). I spent much of my 7-hour plane ride simply contemplating maybes. Imagining what the reality of my 8-month long trek would be; however, the problem with imagining is that I don’t always get it right and then I psych myself out. So, let’s talk about the reality. I made it through passport control and found my luggage with no problem. I even exchanged some money and reorganized a little to make my purse a little lighter. The tough part was coming next: the dreaded Tube. Honestly, the hardest part about the Underground was getting underground at the airport. The elevators were so crowded that it took about 10 minutes, an enormous amount of maneuvering, and being a little more aggressive than I am comfortable with before I was finally headed to the train.
This next part was pretty fun. I got on the train, sat down and then watched the scenery go by. I saw townhouses that looked just like they do in the movies. I saw trees and cars that remind me of Budapest, where I grew up. I also witnessed firsthand that Londoners really do like to be quiet on trains, which was fine with me since I had only slept about an hour-and-a-half over the past two days. When leaving the station, I even experienced something I did not expect: people carried my bags for me. I was expecting to have to lug my enormous suitcase up multiple flights of stairs, but every time that I had to carry my suitcase upstairs, someone offered to do it for me. I obviously refused and then accepted reluctantly to show them that I don’t want to abuse their momentary lapse of judgement. This unexpected kindness eased my worry about finding my way, especially when I met another CAPA student making her way to the same apartment complex alongside me.
In the end, reality wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I worried for nothing. I just had to take the process one step at a time and not worry about making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable. I made it to my apartment, and I did make some mistakes along the journey. I also experienced some anxiety, which ended with an extreme amount of excitement about the upcoming months. Now I am sitting in my apartment—which is better than I imagined—drinking a cup of tea and listening to the sounds of my corner of London. Right now, the noises of cars, helicopters, and the train whizzing past our apartment sound incredibly loud, but, thinking ahead again, I know that in 4 months from now, home will sound too quiet without them. Change happens and I am excited to see the change that this city will bring about in me.
Genevieve's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.