Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One Month In

Now. Where was I?

Right, I went to England. I've decided not to update that blog anymore because I think it has fulfilled its purpose as a narrative - it has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The blog posts themselves are more monologue-y, and the accompanying videos give you more of an idea of what I actually did. See? I've put some thought into it!

But the problem with that particular ending is that it didn't. I'm still here, or rather, I'm not there anymore, as in England; I'm here as in Minnesota. So think of that blog as a spin-off in the reality drama series that is my life.

The beginning of it all seems so far away, and the ending seems so abrupt in retrospect. Cramping aside, the plane ride back was smooth and surreal, the time difference aiding the illusion that we were leaving the temporal vortex that had been created when we first touched down in England. All the publications told me that seeing the changes that occurred in our absence would be hard, and I was looking forward to it with the hope that the challenge of re-adapting to a once-familiar environment would occupy my body and mind, and dull the pangs of leaving Worcester. However, once I arrived I was struck with an entirely unexpected feeling - that nothing had changed at all. I mean, sure, the city had been modestly updated and the people changed in their own ways, but fundamentally everything seemed the same.

That meant confronting a reality that I wasn't ready for: that nine months is just that - nine months. It's not much - it's not even a round year. But it felt like so much more! Framing it as simply nine months would be akin to saying that it was just a vacation. The experience, and the memories, become cheapened.

And the memories I have! I don't know what will make the cut in fifty years, when I'm writing my acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Cool, but even now certain moments stick out to me because in those moments, I've felt the happiest, saddest, most independent, most frustrated, most everything in my life:
"Captain Jack"
  • Passing through airport security for the first time felt like literally stepping into a new reality
  • Taking off from Minneapolis at night and seeing the lights get smaller and smaller, and after a few hours realizing that, much like Samwise Gamgee, I am the farthest from home that I have ever been
  • Successfully making pancakes for the first time while simultaneously trying to convince my new friends that I definitely knew how to use that stove thing
  • Planning my first day trip (to Liverpool!) and eventually making it to the train station and realizing that I am alone and alive and in Birmingham
  • The same feeling of independence two months later in Gatwick airport, and hours later in Barcelona, Spain (again alone)
  • Getting almost-lost in Barcelona and receiving a calling card from a passing woman
  • Seeing the year's Marvel midnight movie premieres ahead of my US compatriots
  • My temporary guitar and long-suffering companion "Captain Jack"
  • Seeing a real TARDIS
  • Finishing Mass Effect 3
  • Reading Garfield Minus Garfield and laughing for a evening instead of doing homework
  • Playing lots of Minecraft instead of studying for finals
  • Fort Royal Hill, alone and not alone
  • Lots of Netflix
There is no way for me to tell you what happened in nine months, but I did my best.
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