(Originally published on The Unofficial Field Guide to WashU ArtSci, February 5, 2016)
This past Sunday I got a bit lost. Well, perhaps lost isn’t quite the right word because I passed places I’ve visited before. So let’s say that I was a little directionless. For two hours I was weaving my way around the City of London, SoHo, and Covent Garden. Why was I walking with no goal in mind? Partially to get in my daily 10,000 steps and also because I was getting really stressed out.
I’m almost 31 days into my life abroad and I can feel homesickness looming on the horizon. For me, it’s not places that I’m missing, but people. Most of my support systems are hanging out in Midwest, USA and time differences make it hard to call up my parents when I’m feeling down in the middle of the day. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I can get into emotional funks, especially when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and a little helpless. A lot of changes are happening all at once and it feels like days are flying by in a whirlwind. Because of the way that my schedule is laid out (all my classes meet Thursday and Friday) it get really easy to lose track of time and waste entire days sitting in my apartment procrastinating. Couple a fuzzy sense of time with a sudden melancholy mood and you get me at 2 in the morning, inconsolable and distraught.
When I woke up the next morning I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I couldn’t call home just yet because it 3am there. I sat around for a little while contemplating my options when my computer pinged with a new email. My book was ready for pick up from the library and thus started my mini adventure.
Adventure might be a strong word, and maybe I’m overstating what exactly I did on my walk. I didn’t run down dark alleys (though I did wander into Quality Court that had a slightly alley-like entrance) and I didn’t enter any interesting boutiques. In actuality I was relatively close to some places I visited earlier. Like the British Museum, the Primark on Oxford Street, a graffitied statue lovingly renamed “The Stinker” and the Foyle’s flagship store. Because I was in proximity to familiar places and streets I never actually felt lost. I also had my phone with me the whole time, so if I got truly lost I could get home easily.