home away from homesickness.

the following is a short stream-of-consciousness post originally written for my personal tumblr blog, slightly edited to exclude the many profanities originally included in it. 

I’ve been missing London so much lately.

I miss my boyfriend like hell, but now that I’ve spent time with him outside of London and in Philly, I’m realizing just how much I actually miss London itself. They’ve become two separate things because they’re no longer connected the way they used to be. I miss Simon beyond words, but now it’s becoming very clear to me just how much London as a city has come to mean to me. It’s no longer just because Simon is there and I want to be where Simon is. Simon was here, in my city, in my apartment, nowhere near London, and I still missed London.

I miss the tube, the underground, my commute to and from school. I miss the streets and the cars and the people. I miss the dirty-ass Thames. I miss Boots. I miss Oxford Street, and Primark. I miss the countryside full of greenery and cows. I miss the train ride to Simon’s house. I miss Simon’s family, Simon’s friends, Simon’s car. I miss having such easy access to the rest of Europe. I somehow miss living in a tiny closet, because I was living in such an awesome place with someone who ended up becoming a really great friend of mine. I miss walking through Kings Cross, and up the road to Angel to yell at Vodafone for their awful customer service. I miss Brian, the professor who had us meet him in bars every other week and then just walked around talking to us for three hours and called it class. I miss the pubs, the atmosphere. I miss surprisingly delicious real-chicken McDonald’s. I miss Pret. I miss Nando’s. God, I miss Nando’s.

It has always blown my mind how much any given song can take you back to a particular time in your life. It’s crazy to me that I hear My Way by Fetty Wap and want to burst into tears because it reminds me of London. I listened to it on repeat for an hour today. Just put my headphones in, sat up straight, closed my eyes, and hoped that when I’d open them, I’d be on the Piccadilly Line.

I miss seeing Brand New with a girl I had just met at Alexandra Palace, I miss seeing Fall Out Boy for the fourth time and meeting the love of my life at Wembley. I miss Camden, real Camden, and Shoreditch. I miss the jitters of waiting in line to meet Pete Wentz. I miss Hyde Park and high tea. I miss Kensington, real Kensington, and casually walking past Buckingham Palace. I miss seeing the London Eye from my bedroom window.

I just miss London. Damn, I miss London.

xx Gabi

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long-distance relationships.

Editor’s Note: This post was inspired by a Cosmopolitan article I read yesterday about a long-distance relationship. It resonated with me a lot, so I figured it was time to talk about mine.

If you’ve been following me for a few months (or you’ve spoken to me at all since October), you’ll know that my boyfriend Simon lives in England. Having met at a truly incredible Fall Out Boy show in London, we were obviously destined to be together. Clearly, some ominous omniscient being watching over us (read: Pete Wentz) wanted us to meet.

12366041_10207912280075073_76715821180008690_oThat said, we’ve now known each other for almost four months and officially been together for a little over two months, even though I have now been back in Philly for over a month (that is the most math I’ve done in over a year). I like to think that I’ve gained some wisdom on long-distance relationships (LDRs) now that I’m in one, so I thought I would shed some of that light on you. (Please note: I am not a professional. I just like talking about my boyfriend.)

Here is some advice and maybe some hope for those of you who are in or may one day be in an LDR:

#1: If you’re with the right person, long distance will not be that hard.

Okay, this is kind of a lie. Long distance is really, really difficult sometimes. That said, if you’re with the right person, it is manageable. I’m not sure what I expected of LDR-hood before I was thrown into it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it didn’t really feel that much different. Sure, I haven’t kissed my boyfriend since before Christmas, but our almost constant communication hasn’t dwindled at all, and being 3000 miles apart, we’ve kind of been forced to make the extra effort to become closer in other ways in order to continue progressing the way a normal, geographically-close couple would.

#2: Communication becomes EVEN MORE important.

Communication is 100% the most important part of any relationship. If you don’t talk about stuff, you’ll suppress, you’ll repress, and you’ll struggle to grow both as a couple and as individuals. In LDRs, this is even more crucial. Simon and I obviously can’t wait to see each other in person to handle a problem; we have to take care of things as soon as they happen. This is where technology comes in. Part of what makes the distance so manageable is the fact that things like Skype and FaceTime exist. I still get to hear his voice and see him outside of the hundred Snapchats we exchange every day on a regular basis. iMessage has also allowed us to text just as much as we did when we were on the same continent, even if it uses up all of my data (sorry mom). If you find yourself in an LDR and don’t have iMessage, I recommend the app Couple. You can text, send drawings, let your S/O know when you’re thinking of them, and even utilize a feature called Thumbkiss, where you can make your thumbs… well, kiss. (Editor’s note: I tried to explain this better. It did not work.)

There are so many different ways to communicate through technology that our ability to interact as a couple hasn’t really changed at all. We’ve just had to learn to make up for the things we can’t do with words. (It is possible that Simon and I have just gotten lucky with that as we are both writers, and expressing ourselves verbally is pretty easy. I’m pretty sure you can read any of my posts and know that I talk a lot.)

#3: Knowing when you’re going to see them again makes things way easier.

This isn’t really advice, or anything useful, so sorry. I understand that in many cases, LDRs are indefinite, and you might not know when you’ll be able to see your S/O again, but knowing that I’ll be seeing Simon again relatively soon (5 weeks!!!) is really comforting. That said, after his trip to Philly in March, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see him again. At this point, it’s looking like I won’t be able to make it back to the UK before Christmas, which is admittedly scary. Fortunately, we got that aforementioned communication thing down pat.

#4: You will get used to the time difference.

Simon and I only have a five-hour time difference, so I can’t really speak for the North America/Australia LDRs, but being in different time zones isn’t as bad as either of us thought it would be. Five hours isn’t even that much time. There have been times when Simon has had to wake up really early and I hadn’t even gone to sleep yet, but that’s more of a reflection of my absolutely horrendous internal clock than anything. He always says good morning first, and I always say good night last. It really isn’t any different than just having an S/O with a much better sleep schedule than you.

#5: If you really have to force it, it might not be worth it.

This might be a bit redundant, and also might be a bit of a crappy thing to say, but it’s true. LDRs take an insane amount of work, like all relationships do, but it should not feel like work. I never feel obligated to do something or say something for the sake of my relationship. I don’t really want to compare it to a job, but it really is just like having your dream job. You have to work, yes, but you should love doing it. If you have to remind yourself to text your S/O, something ain’t right.

There will be times in any relationship where you might have to compromise, but it should never feel like a sacrifice. The only thing Simon and I have sacrificed for the sake of our relationship is sleep just so we could Skype for a few more minutes. We have never felt like we’re losing anything or giving something up. It isn’t losing five minutes of sleep, it’s gaining five minutes of a good conversation.

~~~

Ah, a super long post about a super long-distance relationship. How appropriate.

BONUS: built-in drinking game a la You Deserve A Drink by Mamrie Hart: re-read this post and drink every time I repeat myself, say something mushy, or say “Simon.” If you get hurt, I’m sorry and please don’t sue me.

35 days!

xx Gabi (+ Simon)

“society” vs. society

In one of my classes last week, we took an audio tour of Brick Lane, followed by a visit to the National Portrait Gallery. I was initially confused as to why my professor chose to take us to these polar-opposite places in the same class, but then it became abundantly clear to me: the National Portrait Gallery is reflective of “society,” but Brick Lane is reflective of real society. Let me explain.

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Inside the National Portrait Gallery (source: Wikipedia)
If you haven’t been to the National Portrait Gallery, you should go. However, you really don’t have to, because I can tell you what you’ll see there: white people. Good ol’ rich white people. Nothing else. Royals, politicians, the occasional actor (honorable mention to my girl Fiona Shaw), and other WASPs of the sort. I may seem slightly agitated by this, but on the surface, there’s really nothing wrong with displaying works of fine art.

That said, please note that I said “on the surface.”

Museums are great. You get to see pretty things and pretty people and feel cultured for a few minutes, but they also have a responsibility to society. The Portrait Gallery has the word “National” in front of it for a reason. The collection is funded by taxpayers, so the gallery is meant to serve a purpose to the people. How can you possibly call something the “National” Portrait Gallery if it isn’t fully reflective of the entire nation? If we’re making people pay for something, we should probably make sure that it doesn’t completely alienate their culture.

The United Kingdom has the third largest Indian population after India and the United States. There are over four million Asian individuals (of which about 1.5 million are Indian), almost two million black individuals, and over one million mixed. That makes up about 13% of the British population unaccounted for by the National Portrait Gallery. Yes, the UK is 87% white people, but just because one kid is bigger than the other, it doesn’t mean that they are automatically more important. That chocolate chip cookie is fair game. (Source) (That source is not about the cookie.)

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Shoreditch Street Art
Brick Lane, while more diverse, made me just as mad as the National Portrait Gallery. Located in Shoreditch, Brick Lane is quickly becoming one of the most aggressively gentrified parts of central London. Still home to a plethora of Bangladeshi and Jewish storefronts, very few Bangladeshi and Jewish immigrants can actually afford to live there. With every new piece of beautiful street art and every new rad little hipster bar, property values skyrocket. Out of curiosity, I looked up apartments (flats, whatever) for rent around Brick Lane. The first thing I saw was a two-bedroom apartment in Shoreditch set a truly outrageous £750 per week.

Part of the reason that the Brick Lane gentrification debacle gets to me so much is because it hits close to home. For those of you who also go to Temple, you’ll probably know that the university is incredibly guilty of contributing to the rapid gentrification of North Philadelphia.

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The Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA (source: NFL.com)
With rumors (true-mors) of a new football stadium in the works on campus, Temple will likely be pushing hundreds of North Philly natives out of their homes, due to the inflation of property values and the drastic changes that will almost definitely come with the Linc’s North Philly twinny.

I rarely do this, but I’m up for a spirited debate. What do you think about the National Portrait Gallery’s representation (or lack thereof) of British minorities? The gentrification of Brick Lane? Talk to me!

xx Gabi

life-changing experiences + being alone.

It can be difficult to determine whether or not something is truly a life-changing experience or not. We don’t always want to label something as “life-changing” because chances are, more important things will happen to us one day, and we don’t want that powerful label to lose its meaning. That said, after much consideration, I am officially declaring yesterday a life-changing experience for me.

If any of you follow me on social media (*eh hem* Twitter, Instagram), you might’ve seen that I was given the opportunity to meet Pete Wentz yesterday. Pete, the bassist of my all-time favorite band Fall Out Boy, did a signing at their three-day pop-up shop in Camden, and I was one of the 120 fans that got to attend. (Side note: I have to give most of the credit to my girl Sam for this one. She made her way over to Camden before sunrise on Friday to wait in line for the wristbands to get in, and if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have known that I could show up at 9:30 and still get one. Thanks for not sleeping all night so I could, babe!)

I have been a diehard fan of Fall Out Boy since my older sister put Sugar We’re Going Down and Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year on one of her mix CDs in 2004 and left it in the boombox in our bathroom. (Side note #2: When was the last time you heard the word “boombox”?) I caught up on FOB’s first two albums (From Under the Cork Tree becoming one of my favorite albums ever), fell in love with their next two, and survived the 2010-2013 hiatus (though seriously struggled when My Chemical Romance broke up during it — my little emo heart couldn’t deal). I reveled in the glory of their comeback during my senior year of high school and I am thrilled to report that they’re still excellent, unlike many bands that get back together and suddenly don’t know how to make good music anymore.

Being such a huge fan, I was actually kind of scared to meet Pete. It was mostly because I was worried my legs would just give out when I saw him, but it was also because I was so terrified that I would be disappointed. It is unfortunately common that someone meets their favorite celebrity just to find out that they aren’t really good people, but I felt fairly secure in the fact that Pete was known for being a nice person and that the whole universe hadn’t been lying to me all these years. (Spoiler: It hadn’t.)

With Pete Wentz in the Fall Out Boy Pop-Up Shop at Rock 'N' Roll Rescue Camden, 11 October 2015.
With my husband Pete Wentz in the Fall Out Boy Pop-Up Shop at Rock ‘N’ Roll Rescue Camden, 11 October 2015.
The newest (and biggest) addition to my wall, signed by Pete.
The newest (and biggest) addition to my wall, signed by Pete.
There’s something ironic about meeting someone known for singing and screaming on stage just to find out that they’re really quiet off stage. It is equally ironic that I, the girl who never shuts up, was completely silenced just from being in Pete’s presence. I don’t think either of us said more than two words to each other, and after he signed my new most prized possession and took a selfie with me, I was escorted out, borderline paralyzed in awe and slightly confused by what had just happened to me. At least I didn’t cry?

Alright, Gabi, we get it. You met Pete. What does this have to do with being alone?

Well, disembodied voice, if you must know, after the signing, I attended Fall Out Boy’s show at the SSE Arena in Wembley by myself. I had never been to a show alone before last night, and I think I can safely call it my new favorite thing.

I have been to many concerts in my life, and Fall Out Boy has been a large chunk of them. This was my fourth FOB experience, and by far, my best FOB experience. I was anxious about going to a show alone. I usually like having someone to stick with because the idea of getting sucked into a mosh pit with no one to pull me out is terrifying, but I realized after seeing Brand New perform at Alexandra Palace that getting separated from your friends at a show is almost inevitable. With that in mind, I embarked on my journey to Wembley alone, prepared to take on the wild crowd on my own. Halfway through FOB’s first song (after staying relatively calm during their three opening acts), I realized that I shouldn’t be fighting the crowd, I should be embracing it. I’m not really the kind of person to have my back against the wall all night at a show, but I have never been a crazy “dance like no one’s watching” person. That changed last night.

Clearly, the only logical explanation is that my friends are bad people. I’m always with them and have kept my dancing fairly reserved out of fear of being judged by them, but being on my own last night, I have never felt more uninhibited. Possibly apart from the group of people I met at the show who knew nothing about me and couldn’t justifiably judge me, no one was watching me, so I danced like it. I jumped, I screamed, I sweat, and I almost passed out from dehydration. My feet are still screaming almost 24 hours later and the fact that I have a voice right now has got to be some kind of scientific breakthrough. Having fun has nothing to do with the people around you, but everything to do with yourself. I always thought that I had less anxiety going to a show with friends than I would on my own, but going to this show alone proved me wrong. “Care-free” is the last adjective I would use to describe myself, but last night, that is what I was.

xx Gabi

P.S. If you’re interested in listening to some Fall Out Boy, you can check out my Spotify playlist, “Fall Out Boy: Gabi’s Top Ten.” If you don’t have Spotify, I can only recommend that you look these songs up on your own.

  1. XO
  2. I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
  3. Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows)
  4. Dance, Dance
  5. A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
  6. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
  7. Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
  8. Irresistible
  9. The Kids Aren’t Alright
  10. Saturday

Please note that this is my personal top ten and I will fight with you about this for hours if you try to tell me I’m wrong. Someone please take that as a challenge.

the things you never think about.

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m pretty neurotic. I made a tentative categorized packing list for this trip two months before I left Philly, before I even had suitcases. I thought I had considered everything and couldn’t have possibly left a single thing out, but nothing could have prepared me to face the hard truth about myself: I need a lot of stuff. (Disclaimer: when I say “need,” I mean “would benefit from.” Not to be confused with “would actually die without.” I’m just spoiled and dependent on materialistic things, not fighting for survival.)

It didn’t really occur to me until a few days ago just how many small things I was used to having and no longer had.

Last week, after a quick stop at Primark, and with a heavy sense of buyer’s remorse weighing on my shoulders, I was the proud owner of a new blanket, a new sweater, and new shoes. Only when I got home did I realize that I had no scissors to cut the impossible-to-rip tags off. I tackled them with a dull knife, yes, but at risk of damaging my pretty things (and my pretty self, she adds, under her breath), I didn’t get very far. Fortunately, after mass-texting about twenty people, my next-door neighbor-turned-friend became my friend-turned-knight in shining pink hair and lent me her scissors (thanks Sam). It really wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but at least I don’t have an itchy tag on my blanket poking me in the feet at night. I am lucky enough to be here with thirty people that I interact with almost daily, and it has helped a lot in those times of shallow, materialistic “need.”

With that in mind, I can’t help but consider the fact that I would be totally helpless if I was here on my own. I’d either have to grow as a person and learn to live without the random little things that I hadn’t thought to pack, or worse, be forced to buy absolutely everything new and not be able to close my suitcases for the flight home without abandoning everything I arrived with. I’m already sad thinking about the fact that my brand new memory foam pillow and shiny new toaster will have no place in my luggage and will likely be left here as a nice surprise for the next resident of the right bed in room 68, but c’est la vie, or whatever.

For my readers/future travelers, here is a list of a few things (but definitely not all things) that you should pack, but will never think to pack, and will kick yourself for not packing when you realize you need them at 3 AM:

-Scissors: To cut that buyer’s remorse in half!

-Meds, and lots of them: Fortunately, this is something I did actually pack. Having a nurse for a mom comes in handy, as bringing a box of Advil Cold to a country where Advil Cold does not exist seemed obvious. (Side note: expect to get sick if you’re going to be in another country for more than a week or two. that Advil Cold has come and gone in less than a month.)

-Office supplies: This one is mostly for students. It can be argued that waiting until you arrive in the country and purchasing these supplies is a better option, but throwing a notebook and a few pens, highlighters, etc. in your bag just to get you started can’t hurt. (I partially do this because I live for being that kid that not only has 15 pens and highlighters with her but is also totally willing to lend them to classmates. It’s how I learned to turn being a nerd into a surefire way to make friends in high school.)

-An open mind: Before you groan, bear with me. An open mind is so important for traveling, especially for the eternally anxious like myself. Yes, an open mind for seeing new places and trying new cuisines is important, but for those of us who are staying somewhere for an extended period of time, an open mind in the grocery store is important too. You are not going to eat out every day. An English grocery store is nothing like an American one, so I’ve had to try new things solely because I wouldn’t eat otherwise. You also have to keep an open mind about the people around you. This is my first experience living with a roommate, so I’ve had to be extra considerate of my roommate. My room was essentially cut in half and the number of people that sleep in it was doubled, so being mindful of your surroundings and your peers is crucial. Getting in to an open mindset prior to your arrival in a new place will help prepare you for the inevitable culture shock you will experience, and might make things a little bit easier. The Sleep Foundation even suggests changing the time on your phone to the zone that you’re traveling to ahead of time, so you can subconsciously start adjusting to the difference.

The longer I live in London, the more I realize that there are a thousand things I hadn’t considered, but now all I can think about is what hasn’t hit me yet.

xx Gabi

leaving home/getting settled/the first two weeks.

My only justification for the lack in posts over the last two months is that I wasn’t in London yet and had nothing to say about it.

Now, I’ve been here for two weeks, and I’ve just been lazy, so let’s have a chat.

Leaving Philly was hard. Not really leaving Philly, but leaving my mom and my friends. I somehow managed to not be a total wreck saying my goodbyes that day, but the few minutes right after each goodbye were some of the hardest. I’m not going to say I handled it well, because I’m really not sure hyperventilation is a good thing, but I got through the day without getting dehydrated from crying too much like I thought I would, just because a not-much-younger version of myself would’ve. #CharacterDevelopment?

If you want the truth, my first day here was… rough. I don’t know if it was the delusion and exhaustion from a transatlantic redeye flight that I didn’t/couldn’t sleep on or the genuine fear of being in a different country without my parents or anyone I really knew, but my first 24 hours were just straight-up bad. Surprise, surprise, Gabi can’t handle stress. It actually wasn’t until I unpacked all of my stuff (in a record-breaking 15 minutes) that I started to relax a little. I think seeing that my suitcases were about the size of my entire room scared me and made me think I would be forced to live out of my bags for three and a half months and never feel fully at home here. Fortunately, as usual, I was wrong.

It’s now been two weeks (almost exactly), and I’ve settled quite nicely, if I do say so myself. I’m currently harboring a standard beginning-of-the-semester cold, but I feel at home in my closet-sized room. You’ll be happy to know that my roommate isn’t even a serial killer. We both found coffee that we like, we figured out how to use our stove (only after reporting it broken), and I’m like, 95% sure I don’t drive her crazy (yet).

Since we last spoke, I’ve toured the Houses of Parliament. I’ve seen Shakespeare’s Globe twice, and I crossed the Millennium Foot Bridge (albeit with some fear that Death Eaters will attack it again). I saw Brand New and Basement perform at Alexandra Palace and talked to a cute boy from New Zealand about music and traveling. I took the National Rail on a day trip to Brighton and toured the Royal Pavilion, and even dipped my toe into the English Channel (which was a cozy 60 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s been a very eventful two weeks, I’m not even sure how I’ve managed to still go to class.

Tourist attractions aside, I’ve fallen in love with real London. The Underground is a utopia compared to the Broad Street Line, and I have yet to encounter a bus that wasn’t exactly on time. In one of my classes, we were asked to describe the city in one word. Many said “traditional” or “posh” (a word that I have a serious bone to pick with), but all I could think was “organized.” London is the most well-oiled machine of a town I have ever experienced, and I am fully aware of the fact that it’s going to spoil me. SEPTA will seem even worse after I spend three months riding around on tubes that don’t smell like rotting garbage and cat pee.

I have approximately one million more things to say about this place, but TL;DR I’m in love.

Please note that starting with my next post, I’ll be incorporating some required posts for my blogging class this semester. All posts for that class will say #BlogLondon2015 (mostly so my professor can find them, but also so you guys know what you’re reading).  

cheers from across the pond, across the country, or across the hall,

xx Gabi

the beautiful sigh of relief: an update.

consider this short post a follow-up to my previous one.

I was so nervous about meeting my soon-to-be neighbors (and roommate) that I kind of forgot how awesome making new friends could be.

I met four people that I’m going to London with last night, and I didn’t not like any of them. It was so natural. We were all laughing our asses off within minutes and everyone had something in common with someone else at the table. We talked about our pasts, our plans, and our packing situations. I even managed to get answers to some questions I had about the trip. My anxiety about London was cut in half after just a few hours spent sitting in a bar on campus during a thunderstorm talking to people with similar concerns. I got phone numbers, Facebooks, and even plans for brunch. I know whose faces to look for in the airport and I’m honestly a lot more excited about who my roommate might be. Not to mention, I’m not seeing myself sitting alone on a train to Paris anymore.

Not all forms of anxiety are resolved with space. Sometimes you need the opposite. The kind of anxiety I usually have requires silence, darkness, and coldness, so I tend to forget that sometimes a stressful situation can’t always be fixed that way. People have answers, and this is one of the few times in my life where my anxiety has been subsided by extensive social interaction.

I’m feeling so good about this trip now that 52 days went from seeming way too soon to way too far away.

xx Gabi

the fear (is a very good song by Lily Allen).

listen, I’m pretty social. I have some outrageous anxieties, but fortunately for me, my social anxiety is decently manageable and I’m pretty good at making friends. I’m horrible at keeping them, but a view on YouTube counts after 15 seconds even if the person doesn’t keep watching, right? I took a stat class, I know what I’m talking about. (I don’t. I almost never do.)
the statistical data of my social life and the truth of the matter that is my social life suggest very different things. the numbers suggest that I can make a friend in two minutes flat (and it’s true, I’m great). the problem remains in the truth. I’m picky with friends. I want everyone to love me, but after one too many friendships fell apart, I realized it was because they were all one-sided. sometimes they were way to into it and I was pushed away by their eagerness, but it was usually (almost always) the other way around.
as much as I hate the word, I am clingy by nature. I can’t help it. if I meet someone and they spark any kind of excitement in me, my first instinct is to hold on to them for dear life. people are not usually as great as they seem anyway, so it wasn’t always a bad thing that the friendship didn’t flourish, but I probably did scare a few people away with my, ahem, attentiveness, and missed out on a genuinely good relationship.
I like to think I’ve grown out of that at least a little bit. I learned the hard way that relationships of any kind (platonic, romantic, what have you) NEED to be two-way streets. if the other person isn’t putting in the effort you’re putting in, it can’t be very healthy, y’know? you either need to have an agreed nonchalance about the whole thing, or a mutual decision to put an equal amount of effort into it.
that’s where it gets kind of difficult. communication is awesome. I love talking to people and I want people to know how I feel about things. the problem with that is that not everyone feels the same way. some people don’t know when to communicate or what to communicate or even how and relationships suffer because of it. even more so if neither party is good with communicating, because seemingly every authority figure in my life has taught me that two wrongs do not make a right.
so, get to the point, Gab. what’s with the annoyingly melodramatic title?
alright, internal troll, relax. I call this entry “the fear” because making friends is damn scary, especially when you fly overseas with a bunch of strangers and have to live with them for four months. you’re basically screwed if you DON’T make friends with them. is that not terrifying?
I’ve only spoken to a handful of people going to London with me, and I do see myself actually befriending some of them, but the relationships I’m going to build are not relationships yet and it is 50% my responsibility to make them develop. do you get why I’m afraid now? I’m blindly walking into an endless void of people I do not know who I have to actively get to know as soon as and as well as possible. the really hard part about that is that it’s not like kindergarten. how we made friends in kindergarten:
toddler 1: I like blue!
toddler 2: I also like blue!
toddlers 1 and 2: LET’S BE BEST FRIENDS.
ah, those were the days. in college, if you tell someone you like blue, and they like red, it literally blows up into a four-hour political debate (don’t even get me started on the greens). I am not exaggerating. I once told someone I liked the color blue and proceeded to get yelled at for it. gotta love them political journalism majors.
TL;DR: I’m scared. I kind of hope everyone else is too.
56 days.
xx Gabi

the prep.

you never realize just how much goes in to planning a big trip like a semester in London until you start planning it. half of the things I’ve had to take care of and consider during this process hadn’t even come to mind prior to my orientation meeting.

things I had anticipated:

-registering for classes

-calculating expenses

-buying my tickets to and from London

things I had not anticipated:

-literally everything else

I had no idea how many different things were involved in the process. I hadn’t thought about cell phone service overseas (which, if you know me, is actually kind of surprising). I hadn’t thought about healthcare, or where I would stay when I traveled outside of London. I didn’t think about whether or not I’d need a Visa based on my decision to apply (or not apply) for an internship. I hadn’t considered the fact that all the money I’ve been saving to irresponsibly blow in Europe would have to include a budget for groceries and laundry. I, somehow, hadn’t even thought about packing, and how I would manage to fit three and a half months of my life into a 50-pound suitcase and a carry-on. Needless to say, I had multiple panic attacks during that four-hour orientation and the days (months) that followed. (I also won a free t-shirt that day for winning an Instagram photo contest I wasn’t even aware I’d entered).

Weirdly, the thing I worried least about was my passport. I’ve had one basically my whole life (thanks, parents!) and I got it renewed a year ago so that I was already prepared for this very trip. That said, I’m still so worried about the infinite list of other things that need to be done before departure that I can’t even be comforted by the fact that I don’t have to worry about a passport. *Circle of Life blares in the background*

But I digress (I digress a lot in my writing), I am still decently (outrageously) unprepared for this trip. I have my flight and know where I’m living, yes, but I don’t even have a big enough suitcase yet, let alone have any idea of where to begin with packing. Maybe I’ll just make it easier on myself and only take one pair of jeans. I can do laundry every three days, right? On top of that, who needs cell service? This gives me a perfect opportunity to get some adorable Union Jack stationary. I’ll write home every day. It’s not like the weather in London will change in the time it takes for my mom to get a letter from me telling her it rained that one day…

LOL I AM FREAKING OUT.

xx Gabi