Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Good-bye
Rather than dispelling the number of socks or sweaters I intend to bring, I am instead choosing to use this post as a forum to air all of the grievances and anxieties I have about this upcoming trip. I am absolutely livid, positively pissed that I ever thought this was a good idea. Me? A twenty-year-old sophomore, who can barely remember to make her bed in the morning, is going to England for nearly six whole months? There is a joke in that situation waiting to be made.
True, this is something I have always wanted. In fact, I think this is the one dream in my life I have actually accomplished. But instead of being the boon I have earned after years, nay decades of wanting and working for, I have instead begun to see this as very much my own white whale. This trip could make or break me and I have become very certain at the moment that it will do the latter.
Why? As I’ve said, I have always wanted this. From an unreasonably young age, I was exposed to the likes of Wilde and Austen. My sister, ten years my senior, was always watching BBC DVDs in the living room and somehow, I ended up watching them with her. I had no care for the men (after all, I was six), but I definitely liked the atmosphere and the tone these shows provided. There was something very cozy and cool about all of these very attractive people traipsing about in equally attractive landscapes. Moreover, my mother, on a whim, took me to a local high school production of The Importance of Being Earnest and again, I was swept up in the drama of these old-timey-wigged figures with their impossible worries about marriage and class.
This fascination was compounded when my mother and my sister went to Europe one summer without me. Remiss of parent and beloved sibling, I was eager to understand where they had gone. I bugged my dad repeatedly to explain that yes, they were in England, that place in the TV. When they returned, laden with Harrods mugs and stories of guards at Buckingham Palace, I was officially hooked. I wanted to go there, and I wanted to go there now.
Of course, the opportunity wouldn’t actually come available to me until October 2014 when I was told through email that I had been accepted at King’s College London. I swear while reading the email I went through the entire cycle of grief. I actually began to mourn my dream because it had become a reality. And it wouldn’t have become such a reality without the support of my family and my friends.
My mother had always pushed me to go abroad in college. She had never gotten to go and like any good mother wanted me to experience it instead. My father had a more off-hand approach, and instead suggested I do otherwise. Just stay home. When I was most down about my applications, he would agree that maybe England wasn’t so great. After all, the weather was pretty much the same in New England and if I wanted tea, we had a well-stocked Teavana at the local mall available during weekdays and weekends. This in turn fueled me to work harder, much, I am sure, to his inner glee.
Now, I am just stumped. I have the dream, but what if it is nothing close to what I wanted? What if, I experienced something akin to Paris Syndrome and as soon as I arrive on the steps of my dorm, I burst in tears, crying, “This isn’t it! Where’s my grassy green and where’s my Colin Firth?”
I admit, this is a slight exaggeration, but the anxiety is so real. Even now, as I am looking across my room I can see how much this want has impressed upon my life. All the books piled next to my bed are by British authors or are on British-related subjects. My stuffed fox sitting next to me is wearing a tweed jacket for goodness sake. I am practically breathing in Anglophilia—I might as well be wearing a Union Jack cape–and yet, I somehow don’t want to go! What is wrong with me?!