I only have 10 days left as a resident of England. This fact makes my heart melt. Not only am I in love with this country, but I’ve become deeply attached to Capernwray Hall and the wonderful friends I’ve made here. 

This year has stretched me in so many different directions. I’ve loved, I’ve lost, I’ve cried more than I ever remember crying and laughed more than I ever remember laughing. I’m learning to love people, love God, and love myself. It shocks me how much I’ve changed since September 2013. 

On the outside I’ve chopped off my long hair and gotten my ears pierced and gained weight. On the inside I’ve become more confident, outgoing, and vulnerable. I’m learning to trust others, even when there’s a risk of getting hurt. I’m learning to have adventures without planning them out in advance. I’ve stripped my faith down to the bare bones and am building it up again with rock-solid truth. It’s a slow process, but I’m growing. 

Here is the plan. I’ll leave Capernwray on September 13, accompanied by my dear brother who arrives in England today, and together we’ll go on an epic sibling adventure through Germany, Switzerland, and back into England. On October 4 we will journey from London to Manchester, spend the night at the airport, and at long last fly home.

When I get on the plane back to the States, I think I will feel an enormous sense of loss. It’s been magical to live here, and I’ve had to pinch myself time and time again to convince myself that I’m actually living in England. After years of wanting, waiting, hoping…the dream came true. Truer than I ever dared to hope. 

How many Britophiles get that kind of privilege? 

But I’ll also feel some measure of relief. A part of me (the teeny tiny American part that craves BBQ and shopping at Walmart) has been tense for a year, strained by the distance from home, constantly aware of the fact that I’m a fish out of water. At long last I’ll be able to fully relax with the people who know me best, in the land where I was born and bred.

And yet, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live in the USA as I once did. I always had a longing for something different, and now I’ve discovered that “something” does in fact exist. And for the rest of my life I’ll have that other world tucked away in the back of my mind. I might not return for many years, but I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget this other place, this other life. It has changed me for the better, and I have little doubt that I will return someday. 

Britain will always call my name, and I will answer.

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Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

This article has 3 comments

  1. james d burns Reply

    These last two posts have been your best ever. You explained so much more than the fantasy and the sightseeing you did ,good as they were I admire you for what you have done and know that you will be changed forever.Please keep posting when you return home

  2. Patricia Burke Reply

    A wonderfully emotive post, Abigail!

    I am so happy that this past year for you, has been more joy, than sorrow. You have been living the dream, with the odd nightmare every now and again, but I am sure you have come through it, with an enhanced assurance in your own abilities. Acknowledging an inner strength and self reliance you probably didn’t credit yourself with and the knowledge that you Can take giant steps on your own with confidence! The experience has no doubt been ‘Character Building’ as we like to say over here! The new you, can confidently say: ‘Have Passport – Will Travel!’

    I am also sure, that despite your modesty, you are extremely proud of yourself and justifiably so! Furthermore, as a parent, I am certain that your parents and your relatives are also very proud of what you have achieved for yourself, by yourself. This has not been a summer holiday, it has been a year of separation without the immediacy of your normal support network and you appear to have risen to the challenge admirably.

    You might consider yourself, a ‘fish out of water’ over here, but if you are, it’s no doubt for all the right reasons! You revel in our history, the architecture, the countryside, the ruins, the people, the everyday experience of: just being here! Whereas, we locals are probably more complacent about such things and our surroundings. Perhaps a little jaded and despondent, depending on our financial and social circumstances – but nothing that a holiday abroad in the sun, away from here, can’t cure! (lol) You might feel like a stranger in a foreign land. We are a multi-cultural society so even we locals can feel that at times. It all adds to the spice of life! As for American accents, fabulous! You don’t have to lose your accent, local words, phrasing and probably a different speech pattern would creep into your conversations with little effort on your part. You are the best type of ‘Local’, you love it here and it my book, that would win the ‘hearts and minds’ in any community.

    You may be a fish from a big pool, with endless vistas, opportunities, freedoms, lifestyles and a potentially high standard of living, that many of us, in the world beyond your borders, are justifiably envious of. Despite that, you have embraced the restrictions, inconveniences and quirkiness of dog-paddling in the puddle that is: Britain. And you have done so, with love, understanding, honesty and a rare passion! Abigail, you are like a breath of fresh air, so I say Bravo to you!

    There may well be, ‘no place like home’ ( for those of us fortunate to have enjoyed a happy homelife and its environs ), but sometimes, I think it is more appropriate to say, ‘home is where the heart is’. It is just a question of letting time, experience, circumstance and more often than not, Love, ultimately point you in the right direction, wherever that might be!

    Now in your final weeks and with your brother, now having joined you. I hope you both enjoy good times, good weather and memorable experiences, in the weeks to come before the two of you return ‘to the land of the free!’ At the same time, I hope that you will also share with us, your brother’s thoughts and impressions on what he is about to experience outside of the USA with you. Once he gets over, the jet lag, culture shock and possibly a full English breakfast. The Great British Fry-Up, being affectionately considered here, as: ‘a heart attack, waiting to happen! But they really set you up for the day ahead.

    Enjoy the last days of your long term stay in Britain, I hope that the opportunity to do so again, arises at the right time of your life to do it again. You could join the Military, and with the American Airforce you could ultimately look forward to a 4 year deployment to Lakenheath or Mildenhall here in the UK – it’s a thought!!

    Sorry for the large response, despite trying to edit myself. I have not yet successfully grasped the concept of: ‘less is more!’

  3. Marie Weitzel Reply

    Abigail, I have just spent the last hour going through your posts both here and on “the Britophile Diaries” with a huge smile on my face. You’re a wonderful writer and photographer!

    I’m going to be student at Capernwray for the one-year Bible School course starting this next Saturday, the 26th. In exactly a week from now I’ll be waiting for my plane to board. It was so much fun to read all about your experience of Capernwray and living in the UK, just because I know I will be living there so very soon! I’m beyond excited and I just wanted to thank you for making my evening happy. 🙂

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