See you soon, Nottingham

It’s hard to believe that my semester abroad is done already. I seriously can’t conceptualize it! Although I really am thrilled to be going home and getting to see all my family and friends again, I am so so SO not ready to say goodbye here. I’ve been so overwhelmed by God’s love for me and others this term, through the provision of friends (the BEST friends ever I might add), a church in town and bible study in my hall, opportunities to explore and step out of my comfort zone, time and resources to even make this possible… the list could go on and on. As someone who loves to plan and have my future organized, God’s really revealed to me the way that his plan is so much bigger and better than mine- even if I’ve been dreaming of studying abroad since middle school and planning for a year! I didn’t think dreams could be better than that!

Honestly, the thought of leaving Nottingham brings me to tears (we all know that’s not too hard, but still). I feel so at home on this beautiful campus, in my hall, and even while I’m traveling. More importantly, though, leaving all my incredible friends here is a million times harder than I could’ve anticipated- I really didn’t intend to get very close with people, to try and prevent such a heartbreaking goodbye, but it turns out that everyone here is amazing so that wasn’t possible at all. I’m thankful that modern technology means saying goodbye isn’t really that final, and when I come back to England, I’ll have loads of wonderful people I get to visit. So as cliche as it is, I’m really trying hard to remember that it’s not “goodbye” but “see you later.”

Some of these might be repeats, but here are some of my favorite pictures and memories with friends. More thankful for you than I can put into words.

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Johnny & Miles; Oxford punting

I guess they weren’t ready for the picture.

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Henrietta; hiking Hathersage
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Emily, Ruby, & Claire; freshers week

This was literally one day after meeting each other!!! But looking back, it felt like we were already so close… also #tbt to when my converse were that white.

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Emma, Ruby, & Caitlin; FloBo formal

Didn’t realize how good of picture quality this was until I could see the dust sitting on the polaroid. Lovely.

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Jenson, Emily, & Ruby; boating on the lake
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Holly, Ruby, Claire, & Emily; Rock City
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Claire; goose fair
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Lucy, Ellie, Teddy, & Emily; Grace Church Christmas party
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Jenson, Emily, Emma, Ruby, Phoebe, Maddy, Chloe, honestly some guy I don’t know, Caitlin, Rory, & Claire; formal

Pretty sure this is the only picture in existence of all of us together. Despite the horrific red eye situation, I’ll treasure it forever!

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Rory, Claire, Emily, Ruby, Jenson; freshers week
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Claire, Ruby, & Emily; formal
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Emily; Birmingham Christmas market
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Emily & Jenson; formal
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Johnny; Harry Potter studio tour
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Caitlin, Claire, Ruby, Rosie, & Maddy (and Rory); formal
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Henrietta & Kelly; York minster
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Kelly; Manchester museum
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Emily; halloween
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Henrietta; Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
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Emily; giant Notts sign
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Emma, Aisha, Holly, & Ruby; Crisis
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Ellie, Emily, Lucy, & Teddy; Grace Church Christmas party
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The most amazing hall ever, FloBo; freshers week
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Phoebe, Jenson, Claire, Emma, Chloe, & Emily; Cirque du Soul
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Kelly; Somerset house ice skating
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Jenson; Rock City
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Emily; Pom Pom
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Emma, Claire, Rory, Emily, Jenson, Phoebe, & Caitlin; my last dinner in Notts
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JP, Zack, Joe, ALex, Fiona, Shirlyn, & Joanna; 920 group dinner

Both those dinners were actually at the same place. Italian with a half off for students discount? Yes please!

So these next few pictures count obviously because they’re my friends, but are also sort of their own story! 920 is what the hall bible studies are called, so all of us from FloBo, lead by JP and Fiona, went for a fun night in town with a yummy dinner, fun ice skating, and walking around the Christmas market. Turns out there are tons of places in England that put up outdoor ice skating rinks at Christmas, Nottingham being one of them, which I think is really cool.

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Joanna, Fiona, Joe, Alex, Zack, & JP; 920 group ice skating
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Nottingham at Christmas
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Nottingham ice rink
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This picture is just too funny to not share
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JP & I livin it up on the carousel

Well I’m getting really sentimental now. So many people that I really cherish and love!

I guess this is a cheesy post, so I’ll change it up to lighten the mood (for myself who is getting really sad writing this) after this- I am going to miss Nottingham and all the people in it SO MUCH- but I also feel so blessed to have so many people I can’t wait to see at home. How lucky am I???

There are loads of things I adore about the UK, but also certain things that I will not miss at all. So here are lists of those things. (this does not include everything I’ll miss about friends/campus/traveling; just things from England.)

I will miss:

  • everyone’s cute little accents! I’ve gotten so used to hearing British voices that it surprises me to hear someone speak in an American accent now. I’m sure I’ll lose that feeling pretty quickly at home, so I’ll have to facetime all my friends here often to not forget how to understand what they’re saying.
  • people telling me “I love your accent!” I thought I’d be annoyed by that, but honestly, I love it (no matter how self-centered it is to say it). I think American accents sound so boring in comparison to the British so it’s fun being considered exciting.
  • surprisingly, the drinking age- whether you drink or not, I think pub atmospheres are super fun and it’s nice to have somewhere to go in an evening or for a party to have a chill but nice time. In the US, you really only have coffee shops for casual things, and full restaurants for bigger things, but nothing in between. Plus pubs all have the best fries.
  • being able to hop on a bus or tram super easily to get anywhere in town.
  • having food at the swipe of a card. I’m finally facing having to cook for myself and it will probably not go well.
  • being allowed to cross the road at any time, anywhere, if there are no cars.
  • drinking tea as a social event/all the time. (I guess I can do that at home too but it’s not as encouraged there.)
  • all the history! There are museums in every city, castles in abundance, and so many interesting things from so long ago. America just isn’t that old.
  • riding on trains. Such a convenient way to get around! They’re not the most comfortable or fastest things ever but they’re a great mode of transportation that are quite nice.
  • how close everything is to each other. My “long” trips have been a four hour train ride, and a 1 hour plane ride! Everything here is just so close together and so small. Major cities are so easily accessible because they’re not spaced out so much.
  • funny conversations about differences between the US and the UK. There are so many things I didn’t realize even could be different until being here, and it’s funny what things either my friends or I assume are universal that are actually just country specific.

I will NOT miss:

  • the way people say “Nike” and “fillet.” It is pronounced “Nik-ey” not “Nike,” and “fill-ay” not “fill-ett.” Do you say “ball-ay” or “ball-ett” for ballet? That’s what I thought.
  • the absence of tea lattes, ranch dressing, and Chipotle.
  • writing essays! GIVE ME SOME MATH, PLEASE.
  • the way the yellow light comes on at the same time as the red light to signal it’s about to turn green. It is 100% unnecessary.
  • standing out because of my accent. I like the compliments every now and then, but I hate feeling like everyone will remember what I say if I speak up in class that much more because I’m American.
  • people asking me about politics when they hear me talk, even if they don’t know me at all.
  • everything being SO much more expensive, because it’s in pounds, but also because it just is.
  • having bare minimum supplies in my room- I’m so looking forward to having all my clothes back, having enough hangers, having a laundry basket, having silverware that isn’t stolen from the dining hall, ect.
  • paying 2 pounds every time I want to do a wash, and 1 pound for a tumble dry. Makes doing laundry even less fun than it already is.
  • signing EVERY time I pay for something with my debit card. If I was a card thief I think I’d be buying more than dairymilk buttons. (Actually, if I was a card thief, that’s probably exactly what I’d be buying…but in bulk.)
  • the Netflix here- it’s the actual worst. I had to stop watching The Office right in the middle of season 3 when I arrived and settle for the British Office instead (which has great banter but is honestly just so cringeworthy). Can’t wait to have Michael Scott and New Girl back.

Well, this for sure isn’t my last blog post because the next two weeks I’ll be traveling with my lovely mum! (Can I say mum without sounding like I’m trying too hard? When I come home please still let me pretend I’m British when I talk.) SO excited to see more of Europe, especially with her. So loads more pictures and posts will still be happening until then.

My mom/mum arriving, classes ending, moving out, and saying goodbye is all so surreal. I know I’ve said it before, but Nottingham just feels so much like home that it seems weird to be leaving at all. Being home feels like a lifetime away, when I was a whole different person. In reality, I don’t think the external me has changed much- however, I feel I’ve learned so much and grown in confidence a lot. Never before would I have wanted to get on a plane alone, show up to places I’ve never been before without knowing anyone, stand out from the crowd, chat to people I don’t know, try new things even without being fully prepared, planning and organizing trips out of the country for myself… I feel more independent knowing what I can do, but also more reliant on the grace of God to guide me.

Thank you Nottingham and every single person I’ve met here for the amazing memories I’ll truly treasure forever. It was the fastest, most adventurous, most exciting three months ever, and trust me, I’ll be back soon. Love you Notts.xx

He said to me,”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

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