Hanging up my backpack… just for a little while

               After a week of gorging on pizza, deli sandwiches, and bagels, I’m well over the missing New York stage. Yes, I’ve returned to the land of Brooklyn accents and a Super Bowl Sunday preparations, but in my imagination I’m still abroad roving around on the London Underground.

             “You don’t really know your country until you leave it” is just one of the many things people have said to me about study abroad. I certainly do have a greater appreciation for the States than I did before I left. On my first day back, I hung up an American flag I’ve had here for a while, but never did take the time to display before. This is always going to be home and I love my country. U.S.A. and its people are unique and there’s still so much opportunity here that is lost elsewhere. For instance, there’s so many places in the States that I never traveled to. So I took an opportunity to go on a business trip to Texas my first weekend back and I plan on doing much more traveling within the States so as to better get to know my own country.

             The next bit of decorating my new dorm room after handing up the American flag, was to plant the four-leaf clover seeds I brought back from Ireland and unpacked my British pub food cookbook. When professors, friends, and family see me for the first time after my trip, study abroad incites a conversation that reminds me of the great adventure I had. The memories and constantly explaining how going abroad benefited me makes me want to go again. More than the appreciation of New York and America in general that increased during my time abroad, I now have developed a longing for somewhere else, another place to miss. As I apply for summer jobs and research positions, the ones that would station me in London or a city in Europe that I never made it to during my travels stick out from the pack. I’m still afflicted with wanderlust.

   P.S.             On my flight back to the States, Icelandair, as do many airlines, provided envelopes for passengers to donate their extra change, which is particular convenient for those not planning to carry around their spare coins until they one day return to a country that accepts them as far off as that time could be. The charity supported by Icelandair’s envelopes provides ill children with air flight and expenses like souvenir money for the trip of their dreams. I’m so grateful that the Gilman Scholarship program supported my trip that I otherwise would not have been able to afford so, save for a souvenir or two from each currency, I poured my little satchel of pence, kroner, and euro cents, anything I didn’t use for the laundry machine, into the envelope. I didn’t quite hand get to hand it to the stewardess myself, but the nice lady in the aisle seat passed it along for me as I laid passed out exhausted from all my travels. By the way, airlines like the one I took also make it convenient and sometime cheaper than a direct flight to schedule a stopover in Iceland so swimming in the Blue Lagoon is one of the many things I would highly suggest if you’re ever passing through Europe.


Filed under Christopher in the U.K., Western Europe

2 responses to “Hanging up my backpack… just for a little while

  1. Hey Christopher-
    Thanks for this blog. I’m not sure if you are aware, but a link to yours and the other scholars’ blogs has been posted to the Gilman group on ExchangesConnect, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affair’s online community. We are about to feature the Gilman group on ExchangesConnect next week because of the upcoming application deadline, and we are considering picturing your blogs in the banner. Is there any way you could join the Gilman group at http://connect.state.gov/group/gilman to make yourself accessible to users around the world who may want to ask you questions about your experience? Thanks!

    Ali Edelstein
    Intern, ExchangesConnect
    U.S. Department of State, ECA

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