Archive for July, 2011

End of transmission. <3

Three years ago today, my life was an exciting thing. God only knew what I would be doing the following September, but I had all my money on a flight to England to start a degree at a university I had found through the internet and had yet to see in person. I was working full time at World Market and hanging out with all of my friends from home – the only friends I had at that time in my life – turning green hearing their stories of how amazing their first year of college had been. I had my chance at UCSB and it had failed miserably under the pressures of homesickness and loneliness, and I was in the middle of convincing everyone that going to England was a completely legitimate solution. Most people cheered me on because let’s be honest: England for uni? Why the hell not? It was Lindsay and I’s shared dream to go to London (which was then, as it is with many Americans, synonymous with England in its entirety), and for me it would provide a completely clean slate. I dreamed up scenarios in which I, the cool Californian foreigner, made legions of very English friends, and proceeded to rock the world of creative writing and have the unquestionable time of my life.

I was still about a month shy of having made this blog, but I blame that on my late loan approval and thus my late finalization of my plans. It would be a bit too cheeky to make a blog about my transatlantic travels before I’d even booked my flight, so I left it till August 21st . That would make this blog just about a month shy of its third birthday. And what a three years it has been.

At this point I cannot count the number of times I have said it: coming here was the best decision I ever made in my life. I not only realized a dream but I discovered so many things about myself and grew and matured so much as a person that I cannot imagine where any other path in life would have taken me. Central to that is the fact that here I met that glorious legion of English friends that I will have until the day I die. Even better, I managed to find love and friendship among a few of the nationalities I left out of my daydreaming – Australians, Lithuanians, and last but never least, opinionated, sassy, and beloved fellow Americans. One of UEA’s many gifts to me over the years: tossing me into literally the most loving, embracing, hilarious, and beautiful flat a girl 5,000 miles from home could ask for.

My love of these fantastic people has spread beyond that flat – that amazing, badly painted, wonderfully staffed flat. Our love and friendship has crossed oceans on numerous occasions, spanned hours and hours of Skype calls, seen us through hardship, and been frozen forever in the overly-captioned photos of Facebook. Never have I been more happy to live in a time where distance has such a relatively little effect on friendship. Feelings and longings and words and smiles that were once relegated to the slow confines of paper mail now zip instantly across wires and through skies. Many people decry this as the sign of a superficial generation, one that does not understand the meaning behind letters – and while I understand where any such person is coming from, I have to disagree. There is still something so amazing about getting a letter in the mail, but I will never pretend I am ungrateful for the technology that lets me stay so close with people I love that are miles and miles from my heart.

Those people saw me through so much, just in that first year alone. We have had more nights out than I can remember, and even more wonderful chats over teas, chocolates, chips, and tears. From the moment I woke up in the morning I was surrounded by the best of friends, and that is a blessing I could not have loved more. All-nighters at the library, picnics on the field, flat dinner after flat dinner after wonderful flat dinner – these people welcomed me both into their hearts and many of them their homes as well, and for that, I could not be more thankful. Your amazing friendship is something I know I will love for a lifetime.

Sometimes, and usually unexpectedly, the appreciation and friendship can grow into so much more, and anyone that knows me can tell you that while there certainly was a hell of a lot of the growing, eventually that happened for me over here as well. There is one particular Lithuanian who without, these three years would have been entirely different. You know who you are, and I hope at this point how much I love you as well.

It would be wrong of me to suggest all of the magic of these past three years had only to do with this side of the Atlantic, so I will say it loud and clear: my family and my friends from home have been the most incredible support system I could possibly have asked for. There was never a moment where I had a concern I could not call home with, never a time I would hesitate to dial a three-digit area code and the short, sweet American phone numbers I appreciate on an entirely new level after three years of eleven-digit monstrosities. California will always be home for me, and to the people hopefully sleeping there as I type this: I hope you know how much you mean to me, how much I love you, and how excited I am to fly back and spend what’s left of this summer doing absolutely nothing with you in the too-hot sunshine.

One person that I know is not sleeping, and that I cannot help but mention, is my mom. She is undoubtedly one of the most amazing people I know, and I could not possibly be more thankful to have such a wonderful woman in my life. She is, plainly, the reason I am here. Were it not for her unabashed love of England, her unending fascination with all things Anglo-Medieval, her wonderful friendship with our friends here in Norwich, I would not be here. She raised me right with a cup of tea every morning and while she didn’t know it, that slow, gradually indoctrinated English love became a part of who I am. Not only that, but my mom believed in me from the start. The second I called her up to my room one day in January, made her promise not to think I was crazy, and told her I’d applied to UEA in secret, her face broke into a smile and she hugged me with an encouragement that has yet to flag three years on. Just over a week from now she’ll be sitting next to my dad watching me graduate, and I know that encouragement – which, contagious as it was, did eventually spread to my dad as well –  will be shining bright in her eyes just as strong.

I am a lucky, lucky girl. I am so remarkably blessed that at times it astounds me. Today, writing this, is one of those times. After so many memories and so many smiles have been recorded on here to share with my friends both here and abroad, I could hardly let it dwindle and dry up with a literary rant as its final contribution to the never-ending internet. So I find myself here, trying to put together a semblance of a giant thank you – one that will touch on those memories just enough to be happy and not too much to cry – so that this silly website stands as a fitting tribute for what I experienced here. I really hope I’ve done it justice.

 

Thank you so much, readers both dedicated and dwindling, for checking back every once and a while. I love each and every one of you as well. July 22nd I leave home for home, and begin the next chapter in my life. Maybe, if you all are lucky enough, that’ll mean the start of the next blog as well.

Love and miss,

 

Kathy

xxx


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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie