Month Two

I call them 'holy shit moments.'

They usually happen when I'm doing something really mundane or ordinary, like washing the dishes or folding laundry, or trying to stay awake on the train on the way home from work.

It just hits me. It hits me all at once, what I've done, where I am, how far I've come, how much I've grown, the sheer kahones it takes to even think about picking up and moving across an ocean, thousands of miles and to a completely different country, culture, people, way of life.

And for a moment, I'm a little stunned. A little taken aback by myself, by the decisions I've made. But then, it's time to rinse another plate. It's time to put my clothes into my hamper and head back to the flat. It's Wembley Park and I have to shake my sleepies and get off the train to head home.

I find myself thinking in a British accent fairly often now. If it were a foreign language, people might say that meant I was fluent. Those polled on the matter so far have said this just means I'm crazy.

When I first started working at the call centre I could hear myself saying some words here and there differently, but I still sounded very much American. Perhaps too American. After about the third person called me out on being American and demanded to know where I was calling from, I decided life might be easier if I did as the Romans do. So now I don't just have a phone "voice" -- I have a phone persona. The perks of practicing my accent for hours on end are clear, though. It fools even random Londoners now, not to mention the unsuspecting women on the other end of the phone. It's definitely my newest party trick.

The past month has been a good one; a settled one. My dissertation topic was approved and the first four of countless books were checked out from the Brunel library. I decided to focus solely on vocal for the performance aspect of my degree, with an ounce of trepidation but an ocean of excitement, curiosity about what the next year -- and the exploration of my voice as my instrument -- will bring. Ich bin nach Berlin gefahren; ich habe mich in Berlin verliebt. I've grown closer to some of my work mates, and some school mates, as well. I've been inappropriately caressed on the night bus. I was greeted by the morning sun coming up over misty hills in Kent. I've become more a Londoner every day.

I find myself worrying about having to leave here, and reminding myself that it's only November. And it never really helps. I'll be the first to admit that I'm excited about being home in a little more than a month, because there are a lot of things, a lot of people, that I miss very much. But the idea of leaving here to never live here again? It's like contemplating the afterlife; I mostly choose not to do it.

I know that ultimately I will be back in the states. I care too much about seeing the people I love often to live somewhere that would geographically and financially prohibit that. One of the things I've realized this month is just how much I miss the ease of communication of living even in the same country as someone else. To be able to pick up the phone and call someone whenever you need to -- whenever they need you to -- is an invaluable thing. The internet has kept me more than connected with my friends and family, but pictures and words can only do so much before you need the real thing. And I'm a real thing kind of girl; I know this, and it's why I knew from the beginning that it was only temporary.

But the thought that this amazing phase of my life will at some point end still gets to me a bit. I just know that when I left here two years ago, I felt regret. I felt sadness at the things that could have been, the experiences I could have had, the people I could have met, had I only lived the summer to the fullest. I don't want to feel that again.
When I leave here, I want to feel satisfied. I know I'll feel sad, that much can't be helped. I love this place. But I want to feel fulfilled. I want to be comforted by the knowledge that every chance I had to better myself, to get to know me, to have an incredible experience, to get personal with this city -- that I took it.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised I'm having these pangs for a future loss already. It's very in my nature to anticipate the missing of things before they're even gone. But maybe this time I will use those feelings to push me on to even greater heights, and never look back at the ground.

HRH e. cawein
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