Returning Home – by Charlotte Jones

The two most FAQs I’ve had since returning to the UK are probably:

1. ‘How was America?!’

   and

2. ‘Is it weird being back?’

My response to #1 always feels limited. ‘America was good! How was your New Years?’ – It just doesn’t feel suitable. I don’t know how to describe the last four months in a shortened, simple response. I almost feel like I’ve lost four months of my life if I reduce it into one simple adjective. Despite having such an amazing experience, it feels like another world away. Now that I’m back, I’m ready to pick up where I left off.

Even so, I can’t ignore the fact that four months has passed. I’m not returning to my second year at QMUL at the start of Freshers week – instead, I’ve been dropped in the middle of the semester where everyone else has already settled down and I feel slightly out of place. I don’t recognise the Freshers at Drapers. My flatmates no longer eat drunk food at Dixies, but at Pizza GoGo. Is this what growing up is like?!

My response to FAQ #2 is always ‘yes’. Of course it’s weird. I’m delighted that I no longer have to pay astronomical prices for a pack of digestive biscuits, and people do not struggle to understand what I’m talking about when I ask where the bin bags are in a shop (true story). It almost feels like I’m learning to adapt to living in London all over again.

I’ve been back in London for almost a month now, and I’m finally getting to grips with everything again. Thank God. One of the strangest things to adapt to was my timetable. Thursdays AND Fridays off?! I’m definitely enjoying the independent study and more freedom that QMUL offers in comparison to the workload I was dealing with in the US, but I also feel like I have – dare I say it – too much time on my hands. Maybe I’ll do some more charitable work.  Maybe I’ll travel a bit more. Who knows.

It’s not all doom and gloom – reuniting with my friends in my favourite city has definitely been one of the best aspects of returning home. Though I’ll miss the people I met in the US, my home is here.

I’ll miss the weather, too. I think I saw about 3 days of rain in total for the duration of my time in Boston. I witnessed summer, fall, winter; all extremely different climates. Here, it seems like we only have one – rain. I’m ready to have some sunshine that lasts longer than a few hours, but then again, it is Britain. I may be asking for too much.

Interestingly, the two things I was looking forward to the most about returning to the UK are the two things I haven’t done – visited Spoons and Nando’s. I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually. I have, however, indulged in a Greggs sausage roll (incoming exchange students; please have one. It will change your life.)

So yes, it’s weird being back. But it’s also a unique and exciting experience in the sense that I get to explore London all over again. I feel like I can appreciate it just as Freshers me did. Except now I’m a little more cynical and a lot less naïve.

Plus, with the current political situation in the US, I’m pretty happy where I am. (Good luck to all my American pals. You’re welcome to hideout in my flat for the next four years if needs be.)

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