Sometimes to go forward we must look backwards.
It was three years ago that I first stepped foot onto this continent. It was three years ago, this month, that I fell in love with Europe.
It was March 2008. I was a sophomore in college heading to England for spring break. It was my first big journey where I didn’t have a companion with me on my flight; rather I was heading to a foreign country continent.
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t think I’d get so excited about seeing two local football – soccer – teams fighting for victory. I didn’t expect to like the quaintness of sitting down to a cuppa English tea and scones. I didn’t think that the road to Lancaster would be so pretty from the backwindow of a car, especially in a country where they drive on the wrong side of the street! I didn’t expect to adore London’s financial district, or to be able to sit in on a meeting of Parliament. I didn’t expect to eat the best fish and chips of my life (at a chippy somewhere in the middle of the countryside).
But what most surprised me was the land of Beatrice Potter. The winding roads leading up to the Lake District were picturesque, the towns even more so, the snow capped hills and mountains surrounding the lakes the most so. I certainly didn’t expect to lose my heart to the towns of Windermere and Ambleside.
I’ve changed since that fateful trip three years ago. I still feel the same passions as I once did, but my dreams have evolved. I’ve come a long way from being the bright-eyed, clueless not-quite-a-teen-not-quite-an-adult girl I was. I’m still bright-eyed, but hopefully not as clueless!
So as I head off to London in a few hours for the second time, I am going to cherish the memories of my first time in these parts of the world. Somehow I think my memories of this trip will be inexorably tied to the peace I felt in March 2008.