A week out from my departure for London, I’ve had plenty of panic attacks. Luckily, most of them aren’t about the fact that I’ll be in a completely new place… probably feeling completely out of control of my life, and also living with other human beings – which I am notoriously terrible about (OK, self-proclaimed). Instead, it’s much more terrifying fears: “What if everyone thinks I look stupid in this outfit?” “Are two suit cases too many? But what if I need something?” “How much do normal things cost in London?” “Will I ever be able to talk to my friends??!?!?!”
So this begins my weekly blog journey through London (Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad): a list of questions of what feelings important to me, right now.
- How exactly should I “prepare”?
- What clothes should I pack?
- OK, besides clothes, what else should I pack?
- I was told I should bring a filtered water bottle and travel toilet paper?
- How do I dress for cold weather?
- How do I dress for rainy, cold weather?
- Seriously, how am I going to organize all my stuff over there?
- Spending pounds, instead of dollars? Transaction fees? Exchange rates?
- How should I budget for London?
- Any back-up plans for making money while in London?
- How am I going to survive without my desktop computer? Dual monitor love. <3
- Long distance relationships?
- What if everyone in London hates me?
- How can I make friends with Londoners?
- Seriously, can I meet One Direction just to brag to my 11-year-old sister?
- What can I expect from my internship?
- What are my cooking options in London? (Kitchen supplies? Grocery store?)
- How can I make my iPhone work in London?
- Actually, how can I charge all my electronics in London? (Adapter vs. Transformer?)
- Travel tips??
Maybe, with any luck, I’ll figure out the answers to these questions in a relatively painless manner (anxiety seems mildly painful, though)! But, before we start that mess, I want to tell a little bit more about me.
Born and raised in a town of about 20 thousand people, I thought the extra 100 thousand in Gainesville were a pretty big deal. Now I’ve visited large cities for a week: NYC, Seattle, Chicago, San Fran… but living for 15 weeks in a city with 8 million people is going to dwarf me a little bit. Not to mention I’ve always lived in a city that one of my parents live in. So this might actually be the first time I live away from “home.” And I’m just under a month from being 23!
With completed coursework in Digital Arts and Sciences (I like to program, but I also like good design), I’m interested in far more than just that. Hobbies include photography and event planning – and what I enjoy most about the things I do are the analytical and strategic challenges I am successful in solving. I love teamwork when everyone is just as invested as I am, because I’m impulsive and obsessive and find it exhilarating when I can get completely lost in a challenge. It’s probably because of that same reason that I am also easily bored, and ready to find a new project as soon as I feel I’ve solved the last… working on a tedious problem is not my strong area.
I’m leaving behind the obvious… my mother, my father, my brother and sister. But more noticeably I’m leaving behind the four I’ve lived with for the past two years: my boyfriend, Kristofer, and my 3 cats. Which – before you say anything snarky – are (mostly) amazing cats that you’d (probably come to) love if you lived with them. Maybe a lot of cats suck because they do whatever they want and are, predominately, assholes. However, my cats are trained to tap their collars on their food bowls, sleep under covers, and cuddle when you’re feeling sad. But let’s face it, they are still assholes. All the same, they, and Kristofer, are my comforts and London is going to feel pretty lonely until I get used to that gap.
Socially I’m pretty outgoing (when I’m not over-thinking a situation), so making friends isn’t usually an issue. Instead, the issue is that I’m that person that needs time to themselves – particularly a good, whole, robust 8 hours of sleep. Without it, I turn insecure, whiny, annoyed, cranky, and generally end up crying in the fetal position. About 82% of the time I embarrass myself completely. Otherwise, I like hanging out with friends and am totally OK going out on my own to explore or do something I love. Although I also enjoy staying in, watching TV, or just hanging out on my computer, designing this or that.
In London, I just hope I get to learn more about who I am, what I love, and where I want to go in the future. I’m looking forward to traveling often and making new friends. I am excited to gain more confidence in my independence. I want to learn about different environments, cultures, and persons. I plan to exercise, cook, design, and photograph in my free time. While in London, I will be sure to share my adventures, photos, and lessons. I am equal parts terrified and thrilled to take this journey!
Also, as a side note, and point of reference, I’m tagging this series (Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad) as “TIWIKBSA” which I’m pronouncing as “tee-wee-kee-boss-ah.” Obviously.Most importantly, what should I know before I leave home for, essentially, the first time – bound for London?