Monday, May 30, 2011

On Going Home

The other day, I dissolved into a puddle of worry. Don’t ask me why; it’s something I’ve done regularly since I was still in single digits. After thinking about what reasons I could possibly have for feeling this way- after all, my exam was over and my family is coming soon- I realized that the reason was mostly that I felt time here running out. There’s still so, so much I haven’t done here. A lifetime in London would not be enough to do everything offered here, and I wish I had that long to try.

The truth is that after nearly five months, I still don’t miss home. I miss the people, definitely- the closer going home gets, the more excited I get to see them. But I could happily never go back to America and not miss the places I’ve lived.

I thought I would miss driving- I lost out on five months of quality singing-with-myself time- but I don’t. To be honest, as much as I do enjoy singing in my car, driving still makes me really nervous and the tube has its transportation perks. Besides there being no traffic, one of my favorite places to read is the tube.

I thought I would miss my school more, but again, it’s the people I miss, not the buildings and the campus. I don’t long for the theatre as a structure, but I’ve really missed having someone who cares about the upcoming season within shouting distance most of the time. I still wish I could have had another semester living with my wonderful friend Kara, but there’s a chance that could happen again, and perhaps in a space that’s bigger than 10’x15’.

It bothers me that I still remember what a drive to work looks like and that an American accent still sounds normal to me. (This is my own fault though, because it’s the fact that an English accent sounds normal, as I spent a good deal of the last ten years listening to Harry Potter on tape and watching English movies.)

One of the things that is stupidly worrying is that I won’t be able to read the authors I’ve gotten into while I’ve been here, namely Angela Carter and Maggie O’Farrell. There’s such a different writing style here that I don’t think their books will be sold in America. This worry is stupid, however, because Amazon exists.

I realized a few weeks ago that I didn’t have any British souvenirs for myself. No problem, I thought. There are souvenir shops everywhere. I’ll just go out and get myself something with the British flag on it- easy. Not easy, as it turns out. I wrote yesterday about how the urge to buy everything relating to your adopted country will fade after a few weeks. After a few months, buying it becomes a laughable thought. I’ve wandered around at least three souvenir shops, looking at crystal Big Bens and Union Jack tins, as well as a nauseating amount of royal wedding stuff (it will never go away. It will be in the landfills thousands of years from now), and I didn’t want any of it. None of it was appropriately symbolic of my experience, but somehow I feel like if I don’t buy something with the British flag on it, I’m not doing it right. Eventually, I bought a tiny British flag for one pound. I haven’t bought any other souvenir-y type things for myself, and I don’t know if I will. How can I represent an entire experience in a magnet shaped like a post box?

It’s going to be really hard to leave London. Just the thought makes me want to cry. The feeling is even more acute at this moment for two reasons: the first because Adrienne and I just got back from an AMAZING production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe (more about that later) and the second because when I returned and checked my e-mail, I had a personal invitation to audition for this short film that has an incredible script. It got such a reaction out of me when I read it that I have a physical ache inside that I can’t even audition for it- besides the fact that my family is arriving in less than twenty-four hours, filming goes until June 15th. Why couldn’t this have come up earlier?!

*sigh* London, I wish I could have you forever.


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