That’s what it is, my life in London. Nevermind the lack of gothic architecture and vast amount of space that I miss more than I have expected, but as much as I might complain about the claustrophobic atmosphere and reckless drivers, I must nod to the charm of this international city. For someone who has spent the last decade of her life living in quiet suburbs of America, London is a 180 degree change if there ever was one. Nevermind that I was travelling in Europe and stayed in oxford this summer, even my visits to this city only few months ago were nothing like living here. They weren’t lying when the urbanites mused about rushing down a crowded street, leaves swirling in an autumn breeze, as they are carried away in an intoxicating rhythm. Though Starbucks is grossly overpriced and incomparable to those in the States, it makes me wonder why they even have any business when european cafes are so much superior and cheaper. The distance between Commonwealth Hall and LSE is approximately the same between East and West campus, yet the route couldn’t be more different. The street is a typical London street that is congested 24/7 and lined with dozens of shops and restaurants. Within the meager 1.8 miles, this same street also manages to take up three different names. Exactly why a name could only be used for a little more than half a mile I will never understand.
But aside from the delicious mochas, more restaurants for me to explore in a year, pastries that too beautiful to eat, and a street of shopping with not one of each shop, but 2 or 3 (yes, there are 3 H&M’s on Oxford St.), I I can still be so hopelessly homesick. I miss Duke, or rather, my friends at Duke. I miss all the conveniences I’m used to, all the ‘free’ things (buses, printing, etc.), and I miss people that I can hug and sit together in a room comfortably without saying a word.
If you ask me whether I made the right decision in coming here…I can’t quite tell you. It isn’t quite what I thought it’d be, though the academic part is quite perfect and meets all of my highest expectations. But I couldn’t have foreseen the numerous difficulties and discomforts and incoveniences. Nor could I have fully imagined how much I’d miss him, or how painful separation would be. It is so like me, always a bit too optimistic and always managing to convince myself that it won’t be too uncomfortable to put myself out of my comfort zone. I wonder if this has become some sort of a habit for me, always putting new and challenging experiences on something like a pedestal, willing to sacrifice so much for them. Then in the end, I seek confirmation from others that it was worth it, because I’m often a bit too scarred by the adventures to remember the conviction and passion with which I made the initial decisions.
So I try to console myself that at least I will have good stories to tell, and that maybe, just maybe, I have grown a little bit. But really, sometimes I wish I could just remain a happily ignorant child if knowledge and wisdom comes with such a high price. As for stories…well, there are always the books and NYTimes…. Why bother getting my own hands dirty?