Well, after nearly 4 months, my time in London has come to a close. There aren’t words to describe how I’m feeling right now—sad, definitely, and already missing the amazing people that became great friends these past few months, but also an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude towards Pepperdine, towards our visiting faculty famliy the White’s, towards Carolyn, the best program director there ever was, and towards the 42 other people of 56 Prince’s Gate, who have each left an indelible impression upon my heart.
When you live with 42 other people in one house, a special bond is formed that can’t be replicated. Over many meals, times spent together studying and doing homework, nights spent in the student lounge watching TV or playing intense games of Settlers of Catan, late nights at local pubs, and weekend trips throughout Europe and even the Middle East together, we became family. We each saw each other at our best and at our worst, at our happiest and our saddest, at our craziest and our most mundane. Living with this many people can be hard, certainly, but once the barriers of background, differing personalities, and stereotypes are broken down, something unique to a large group happens: We become Family.
My experience as a semester student was different than that of most who came for the year. The family had already been formed in the Fall—I was the red-headed step-child that came a little bit late to the party. I won’t lie and say there weren’t growing pains at first; in fact, the first couple of months were pretty rough as I got to know the house, and they got to know me. Once the walls were broken down, however, I was finally a part of the family.
I am so grateful to have had each of these people be a part of my life. There are so many crazy, random memories with nearly each and every one of these people that I will never forget. I wish that I could write a little blurb about each person, because they honestly have each individually contributed in some way to my life. The laughter, the tears, the prayer—each of these moments with each other brought us closer together.
This is perhaps a recurring theme throughout my entire blog, but for me, the people make all the difference. Not the sights, not the museums, not the food—the people. Sure, I lived in the nicest neighborhood in London. Yes, I traveled to some amazing places. I even crossed some things off my bucket list—but without a doubt, I would trade that all for something less ideal if it meant I would be with the same people. Of course I loved London more than I can even express, but the relationships formed are what created such an attachment to this beautiful place.
While I am so stoked to be returning to Malibu in August and see people I haven’t seen for awhile, and continue to build the relationships made in London, a part of me will always be in this city, with the people who made it so special.
PS: My mom and I are spending the next couple of weeks bouncing around Italy and Greece—stay tuned for more updates before I come back to Seattle in early May!