A Whole New World!
Going from America to London was a big change. Not only because I has halfway across the world, and miles away from family, but also because I experienced a culture shock (for the first time in my life).
Not that I ever thought that American culture was the best, but I realized just how not so great the culture of America is as a resident in London.
Here are the top 5 lessons I learned during my stay:
1. Americans are very narrow minded.
2. We are Americans everywhere else in the world, but America.
3. Monarchy government is not that bad.
4. Too many stereotypes exist in the U.S.!
5. Freedom is a state of mind!
I would elaborate on those but I think they are pretty self explanatory.
I without hesitation appreciated London day one. Besides the fact that I'd always loved the history and regality of the country, after living in London and interacting with the people, I fell in love with London much more.
To be there, in the flesh, gazing out of the window of my cab, watching people on the train, visiting the country side, going to parties and establishing life long relationships I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my few months in London were the best months of my life!
I felt free to be and date who I wanted, without reservation, and I did just that!
I remember one of my first dates in the U.K. was with a French guy, who was simply amazing!
I realized then the very important difference between Caucasian and European (White Americans vs Europeans). He was very attentive, a true gentleman and passionate. And that's not to say that Caucasian men cannot be this way, but there is a cultural gap between White Americans and Europeans.
I also came to understand very quickly why the French are deemed such intense lovers.
While out with him, I was comfortable, nothing like I had ever been. And it was more so because we were free to be us without discreet glances, stares or looks of disdain. It was nice to be around people who understand that love has no color. So we were ok to just be individuals with a sincere interest in one another.
That was nice to experience. It was certainly a new world for me...
So as not to dwell on my dating experiences, but during my time in London, I had the pleasure of redefining my peace!
When I left Houston my heart was in desperate need of repair. And while I didn't go to London to get fixed, that is certainly what happened. I repaired not only my heart, but my mind and soul.
The peace of my heart came from a lot of reflection. I reflected on my life just about everyday in my first 30 days there. I realized how I actions impact others. I analyzed how my pain came across in my everyday communication with others. I realized I was hurting so bad that it made me mean. I was so sad, that it wasn't until I took myself away from everyone, that I realized I had to fix it.
I had to confront that sadness, and admit that I didn't want to live like that any longer. I had to be ok with being hurt and moving on from it. I had to heal.
And when I did, I found peace in being me.
I allowed that hurt to be apart of my story, my journey in life. I made the decision to let the sadness only be a memory, a part of my history, and no longer consume me.
I woke up everyday with a new sense of happy. I was a new me!
I remember the very first day I walked into Switch House, this very handsome gentleman attended the front desk. He wore a suit and was very intense. It was something attractive in his mystery, so I engaged him in conversation just about everyday.
It was funny because while we were quite attracted to one another, our conversation was inconsistent. Some days we were entangled in conversation for hours, and others it was subtle glances and innocent smiles, but an interaction just about every day was certainly necessary.
I personally looked forward to sharing meaningful conversations with him. I couldn't figure him out, so I spent as much time as I could chatting with him in between my trips to and from campus, the gym or waiting on a taxi. He made my time in London much more exciting.
He was the first man I had encountered, in this life, who took a genuine interest in me. Now don't get me wrong, most men I date or end up in relationships are interested in me, but he was the only who made it a point to truly get me. It's like he saw me as this 1500 piece puzzle that he had to put together. And because he took his time, he is still the only gentleman to this day who can look at me and see happiness, pain, joy, regret or uncertainty. He truly sees me.
And while I was grateful to have met and been acquainted with him, it is enough for me to have just that. I felt like our worlds were too far apart, so I never really considered him as my happily ever after...
But only time will tell. Every woman secretly wishes for that happily ever after, right?
London changed me in more ways than one.
Many people don't understand why I have such a connection with London because they minimize my experience to just staying there. No one actually knows what it meant for me to restore my happiness and be opened up in a way that made me see the world in a better space.
I came back to America with less attitude and more understanding.
I came back to America with wonderful friends who believe in me and are still such a very intricate part of my life.
I came back to America with hope of changing the world and making people better.
I came back to America with clarity and peace.
So for me London will always be that place of refuge.
London is, in essence, home for me...