Today, as I was wearing shorts and sandals, was greeted with more sunshine than I had seen in 3 months in England, and hopped into my car to drive on the right side of the road, London seemed thousands of miles away; I'm 8 time zones apart, have my own room, don't need a converter to use my electronics, and have a closet that is 12 times bigger. Yet, as cliche as this may be, London, to me, is ever-present. You see, I went away to London hoping it would be a good experience, putting all of my eggs into the "London basket," banking on the fact that it would give me the friends, perspective, and rejuvenation I was searching for, it did, and so much more.
Before we left on our Thanksgiving trip, Sister Seely shared a quote to help us enjoy our journey. She said, "With every trip we go on, we must ask ourselves not just what our favorite thing was or what we enjoyed, but 'how has this journey changed me?' If our travels and journeys don't change us, then they are for naught." I have contemplated that a lot these past few weeks.
As the title to every blog post has been a verb, I have done things in London.
I have explored castles, I have hiked hills to see views of rolling green, I have written tens of papers, I have conquered the Tube, I have learned to teach by the Spirit, I have pulled many late nights and a few all-nighters, I have laughed more than I ever have, I have had my eyes and mind opened to new subjects, I have gained an even greater love for art, I have greatly improved my British accent, I have become an even greater ice cream connoisseur, I am now an English history buff, I have made the best friends I could ask for, I found myself.
Somewhere along the journey of exploring, creating, enjoying, giggling, learning, searching, I was introduced to my new, "grown up" self. Conquering a huge city, being completely out of my element, forced me to figure out who I am and what I was going to do when I was stripped of all normalcy. It was on this journey that I gained a lot confidence as I was forced to handle myself in somewhat precarious or questionable circumstances. On this journey, I gained a lot of self-respect as I made my own decisions regarding my traveling, safety, time management, and thoughts. On this journey, I became more aware and considerate of others as I learned how to live in a small space with 40 other people and got to interact with such kind people everyday.On this journey, my faith was strengthened as I learned from the incredible examples of my teachers, friends, and members of my ward. On this journey, my testimony was questioned and strengthened as I was forced to rely on the Spirit and often just opened my mouth and let words come out. On this journey, I was reintroduced to beauty and learned how to recognize it. On this journey, I became more adventurous. On this journey, I met the greatest friends that made it so easy to laugh, share, and just be me. The experiences I had on this journey to London helped me see what I want in life, the person I want to become, gave me a love and zeal for life and experience like I have never had before and the confidence to go out and grab life. Although I leave for Provo in the morning (just 5 hours to be exact.. yikes!), and new girls are set to take my place at 27 Palace Court, London will forever be mine. I am so grateful to have had this incredible opportunity, for the things it has introduced me to, and for the person I have become as a result.
Long live the Queen!