One of the biggest reasons I wanted to go on study abroad was to conquer my fear of change. I’m the first to admit that I am not change’s biggest fan, best friend, or even happy acquaintance. Going away to college, thinking about a new hairstyle, and even finishing a series I’ve become attached to on Netflix are all considered a big deal for me because I find comfort in the familiar. In the past couple years I’ve made it my mission to break out of my mold and take on things that I normally would not, and what’s more different than living 5,000+ miles away from home for several months?
When I got to Bath, England about a week and a half ago, hopped up on nerves and constant airplane entertainment, I was absolutely a nervous wreck. Luckily enough, my dad was able to fly over with me and get me settled into what would be my home for the next few months. Which, by the way, included finding me a place to live. Yes, that’s right. When I got here I had nowhere to live for the semester. Now you see why I was a nervous wreck! But by a stroke of pure luck I got into contact with the nicest lady who had a room for me to rent. I’d like to think of her now as my British mother (aka British lifeline) who I am so lucky to have. With that behind me, my dad and I were free to go full-on tourist mode, walking around Bath and finding places to eat and shop for hours, exploring London for a full day, and getting me ready to turn from tourist to temporary resident.
But the second my dad left to go back to Texas, I panicked. Something y’all should know about me is that I am a stress cryer. Well I stress cried an awful lot that Friday, and to make matters worse, the house I’m renting a room in did not have internet at that point and it was one of those classic rainy English days. I’d like to think the sky was crying with me that day. But on Saturday, I told myself I wouldn’t mope. So I marched myself down to City Centre (I’m sure you can deduce what that means purely based on the name) and found myself–get this–a Starbucks with wifi so I could collect myself and figure out (1) how to get a mobile wifi hotspot and (2) what I was doing with myself in the way of school on the coming Monday.
I can happily say I was able to accomplish both of those things, buying a temporary mobile hotspot until my housemates and I get wifi set up in the house and getting myself to the Exchange and Erasmus student welcome on Monday morning where I was able to finally meet other people and make some friends! Mama, I made it, and I have a good group of people around me who I know I will learn so much from and who can also learn from me. In fact, I’m only three days into welcome week at school, and here are a couple of questions I’ve already been asked by other exchange students:
- Question: Do you actually say “y’all” in Texas? Answer: Sure do y’all.
- Question: Why do you call them “sneakers?” You don’t do much sneaking in them, do you? Answer: I actually have no idea.
- Question: What is Fantasy Football? Answer: Only the greatest thing ever.
- Question: Do you guys really have cheerleaders? Answer: Yes.
- Follow-up Question: Are they really mean like in all the movies? Answer: Not at all.
Told you we all have a lot to learn! It’s amazing how quickly you can form bonds with people based on the fact that you’re all experiencing a big change at the same time. And even more exciting is that I’ve found people who love dessert just as much as I do. Sweet, isn’t it? I think so.