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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