University of Wisconsin–Madison

In a Week

As life goes on and I grow older, I’ve come to realize that accepting change means realizing that one day that change will be the new normal, a new experience, a new opportunity.

I didn’t realize how many people surround me at home until I arrived in Harrow, a borough of England that I’m still trying to explore. My dorm set me there, a 20 minute tube ride away from bustling central London. When I lugged my suitcase up the stairs and into my room, I didn’t see a single person except for the dorm cat, Batman, that I admittedly kidnapped and had sleep in my room while I deep breathed and came to terms with the fact that I lived in a new country, apart from my people back home.

My family’s mantra is “one day at a time.” I got on the tube and rode into the city without any idea of what would welcome me. London embraced me with welcoming arms like my family does when they open the front door to welcome me back home from school. The street where I got my room supplies turned out to be a huge shopping destination, with lit up globes hovering above the street lined with white buildings with beautiful architecture.

To be in such a city on my own took my breath away. But that loss of breath could also be from lugging around pillows, duvets etc. and getting lost a couple times.

From that moment on, life in London took off. It is hard to believe that only one week has gone by yet I have seen so much. I have wandered huge, historic museums alone. I’ve met people with interests same as mine and interests different. I’ve seen palaces. Cobblestone streets. Monuments. Ate Italian food outside in a square while a street opera performance happened nearby. I toured 1,000 year old Windsor Castle, and ate Sunday Roast at a pub built in the 1700s next to the castle. I saw Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and the House of Parliament lit up at night and walked back through a private school with gas lamps and old buildings. I wandered through the streets of beautiful homes and stores, because I had the time to get a little lost.

I see my home friends and family everywhere. My mom in the design and gardens of Windsor Castle. My sisters in the restaurants and small shops all over. My dad in the history and classic pub that served the Sunday Roast that rivals only his Sunday pot roast. My best friends in dancing to Beyoncé out at night. The churches here, each unique and old and beautiful, remind me of the churches I’ve seen in Tennessee, rural Wisconsin, Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago.

There is no denying the initial fear I had when I first arrived, but I am happy to say it dissipates every day, and that is coming from a historically nervous person.

And lastly, here are a couple of favorites from the first week:
Favorite meal: Sunday Roast in Windsor. (I know this is roughly the fifth time I’ve mentioned it.)

Favorite museum: Victoria and Albert in South Kensington. Focuses on design from around the world. Big beautiful old building in an amazing area.

Favorite area: Covent Garden area. Winding streets, nice restaurants, beautiful market. One night it started lightly raining there and the street lamps were reflecting off the cobblestone streets and my friend literally started spinning with his arms open.