So I Might Need to Start Packing

Elizabeth Houde London Internship Program, England


August 31, 2015

Friday was my last day at work. Over the summer, I’ve spent forty hours a week with toddlers (and sometimes babies). Friday I remembered how it feels to say goodbye to someone that you won’t see in a while. More specifically, one little girl who started going to the day care center around the time when I started working there.

Friday, I explained to her and one of the little boys right before I went home (since they were the only two toddlers still at the center) that I was going to be heading back to school soon, and I was going to be in London for the semester, so I wouldn’t see them again until December. I asked both for hugs before I went home. The little boy gladly gave me one. The little girl just smiled at me and said "no, you don’t want to go home." She asked me a lot of questions about what was on my shirt (letters, the people on the logo, and their noses), my earrings, my freckles, a passing bird, and the pen that someone threw over the fence. When I asked again for a hug, she asked me questions again after telling me, "no, you don’t want to go home." She finally gave me a hug when her dad came to get her.

It became a weird moment of realization that soon I’m going to be leaving home. I’m going to be leaving my family and going further away from my native Vermont than I have been yet in my life. I’ve never left the country before (even though I’m kind of close to Canada…maybe two hours of driving and I’d be out of the U.S.). The furthest I’ve been from home is North Carolina when I go to college.

The questions people ask me when I tell them I’m studying abroad for the semester range wildly. Some people ask how that works, then I have to explain about things like partner schools and things that I only half understand myself. Almost everyone asks if I’m excited. Then when I tell them I am, I bet I sounded about as excited as I was after my last dentist appointment. It’s not that I’m not excited. It’s just that I’ve always been more the kind of person to get excited after I’m there. Until I’m there, I’m going to spend the time waiting to get truly happy about it until after I definitely catch my bus, my flight, and get through Customs.

Then they ask if I’ve packed yet (or started packing). Shocking answer: I haven’t. I’ve been working. Also it doesn’t take me that long to pack. I’ve made a list of what I want to pack. I know what I need to buy this week. I’m actually not terribly worried about packing though. Although, I guess I did have that dream last night that I lost my backpack in the dark and couldn’t find it…or even remember what it looked like until I started waking up and realized it’s teal and right next to my bed.

Then they inevitably tell me that I’m such a brave girl to travel so far by myself. It’s far, I admit, but that doesn’t bother me, oddly enough. I haven’t really had trouble with homesickness before. Maybe I would since I imagine there will be some culture shock this time when I leave home.

Now to give the list of things I’m excited about:

  • Museums (FREE MUSEUMS, GUYS)
  • The Sherlock Holmes Museum (more specifically, because I’m a nerd, and I’m not even sorry)
  • Tea (like more than for my normal, everyday tea)
  • Buildings (I live in a very small town, and London, in case you were unaware, is a city)
  • The Tube (I don’t even have a real reason here)
  • British Accents (because I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t)
  • Scones (because they’re pretty perfect with that tea I mentioned)
  • Classes (because I’m a nerd, and I really like learning)
  • Pubs (even though I don’t actually drink)
  • Plays
  • The Globe (SHAKESPEARE)
  • The Thames (because famous rivers are great, I think)
  • Matt Smith
  • (and I’m sure there’s more, but I’m blanking on it right now)

And now I must go because there’s packing to do and, you know, family to hang out with because I kind of like these people sometimes.