It is now officially April. Classes are back in full swing and the days are speeding along faster than ever. The last of the midterms has been and gone, and all that’s left of Spring Break is hair-braids and some rapidly fading tanlines. The first half of the semester has flown by in a blur of classes, dancing, parties, day trips and sunshine. With only ten weeks left of my California experience, the countdown is well and truly on.
People never really acknowledge the idea that you can fall in love with a place. Usually, it’s all about the “who”; the husbands and wives, parents and children, boyfriends and girlfriends. When I came out here, although I had a sneaky suspicion that I’d have the time of my life (affirmative), I never really considered the idea that I would be able to completely and wholeheartedly fall in love with California itself. It’s partly to do with the fact that I have had such a great time so far, which is entirely down to the opportunities that I’ve had and the people I’ve grown close to, to experience them with. It’s also to do with the little things, fleeting moments that occur that can’t really be recorded, no matter how hard you try. In ten, twenty or even eighty years time, I have no idea whether I’ll remember how much I love seeing the mountains when I open my blinds in the morning, or how seeing a typically American yellow school bus, for some reason, never fails to make me smile. I’ll miss the stupid things, like being able to clip your flip-cell onto your skirt waistband on a night out, or taking a tea bag and a mug and the occasional cookie down seven floors in the lift in your pajamas so you can spend the evening lounging about with your friends.
There are parts of British culture that I do, of course, really miss. For one thing, any Yorkshireman(or woman) will appreciate my distress when I greeted an American friend with “alreet?” and they looked at me with such confusion, as if I had just started speaking to them in gibberish. Furthermore, it’s unfathomably strange that it’s so sunny and warm outside, but I am yet to see a group of students sitting on the grass drinking Pimms, as is a regular occurrence during the summer term at Roehampton. When the Pimms comes out on tap at the bar, you know it’s summer. Unfortunately, like my Yorkshire slang, “Pimms O’Clock” is gobbledegook here too.
However, just as I was craving a taste of Britain, something amazing happened. I received an email from the Mailroom saying that a package had arrived for me. I went to collect it somewhat reluctantly, expecting a schoolbook that I had ordered. I thought I was going to cry with happiness when I recognised my Mum’s handwriting on the parcel. As I signed for it and ran back up to my room, I was like a child at christmas, ripping open the packaging to a shower of Cadbury’s chocolate, hobnobs and tea. I’m pretty sure parents are psychic sometimes.
Now that I’m stocked up on English goodies, California seems sunnier than ever. It’s warm enough to go out in the evenings without a jacket, and it’s a right nightmare if you forget to put your sunglasses in your school bag for the walk between classes. You just don’t have to think about these things in England. We’re embracing summer to the full, rushing to the pool after classes and spending our evenings planning trips to Santa Cruz Beach, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Next stop is San Francisco (again) for a bike ride across the Golden Gate bridge.
I’m certainly not mentally prepared to think about leaving quite yet. To whomever has to endure the ten hour plane journey back to England sitting next to my grumpy, tear stained self: I apologise profusely in advance. It’s not you, it’s me.
* On a slightly more upbeat note, I would like to say Good Luck to my rather amazing brother who is running the London Marathon this weekend in aid of Action for Children. I’m a very proud sister, you’ll do great Dan xxx