By Jantsen McBride
Hi friends and family! Welcome to my blog. This is where I will be documenting my adventures for the next three months while abroad. What an insane thought. This time last year I would have never believed I would be living in England for a semester and studying medicine there. I have wanted to study abroad since that first MU summer welcome meeting freshman year. There’s something enchanting about the idea of jet setting to a foreign country and immersing yourself in a new culture and way of life. I have been so blessed to have the support from y’all as I head out to explore this crazy, beautiful world. I couldn’t be more excited to share all of my experiences with you.
I have always enjoyed traveling. My parents have both spent many years working for the airlines, so I grew up being fortunate enough to take lots of family vacations and comfortable with traveling on my own. Having parents work for the airlines has majorly prepared me for traveling overseas. It has taught me to be extremely early to every flight you take and, consequently, to be über paranoid that someone is going to snatch your bag and fill it with forks and knives.
So let’s get going with the details of this trip. I will be flying into London a week early with, as my mother refers to them, “the boys.” Cody and Walter hail from Missouri and Wisconsin respectively. They will also be studying at the college I am attending; Lancaster University. While in London we will be sightseeing, shopping and sticking out like sore thumbs, I’m sure. From London we will take the train to Lancaster, a small town approximately forty-five minutes from Manchester, located on the northwestern coast of the United Kingdom where we will spend the majority of the semester.
In preparation for our adventures, Cody, Walter and I have been researching all things English on a daily basis. There are four broad categories in which to succeed before we leave the old U.S. of A. First and foremost, clothing and fashion are a must while in Europe. So to prepare, I have packed a plethora of tight pants, tights, Oxford button downs and, of course, cardigans. I recently bought a pair of wide rimmed tortoise shell eyeglasses to fit in with the local “hipster” mentality. When they came in the mail I asked my dad how they looked. His reply? “They look like dork glasses!” Thanks Dad. Fashion? Check and check.
The second category in which I have been preparing for is the whole accent and dialect feature of England. The boys and I regularly text updates of new British words we learn. For instance, on one university forum a student was talking about a “bout of chippy.” Excuse Me? Also, my mom and I talk quite a bit in fake British accents. More than I am proud to admit. Wellies, the famous rain boot company, are the main topic of conversation in our accents. “I can’t wait to get a pair of Wellies with cute little bows!” I say. ”Oh yes, the Wellies with the bows how splendid! You must get Wellies to match your rain jacket!” my mom responds. Phony British accents? Check.
Baggage and trip itineraries are the third category to prepare for before leaving the states. I have spent an ungodly amount of time picking out which clothes to take, what shoes to bring and what papers I will need. I have a folder full of every receipt of anything I have bought dealing with being abroad. I have organized them by date and made multiple copies. My mom is a super worry wart. So to satisfy her fear of anything and everything that could possibly go wrong, I have a trip schedule worthy of the Queen of England’s army fleet. Speaking of an army fleet, my dad — an ex-army official — helped pack my suitcase to perfection. He folded, rolled and repositioned things until everything fit just right. It was like watching a puzzle be expertly put together. Baggage and an airtight itinerary? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Last but not least, goodbyes and see-ya-laters head up the last category of preparation. My first goodbyes were said at work this last week. To start with, I have the best job on the face of this planet. I work in a salon and boutique down the street from where I live in Parkville, Mo. I have known my boss since she started doing my hair when I was nine years old. I have worked for her three summers now and consider her more of a best friend than an employer. The other women who work there are also dear to my heart. Working in a salon is more like working in a place full of friends. You confide in them, laugh together and lean on them if necessary. Saying goodbye just really stinks. But no worries, I’m sure January will have me on Skype at the reception desk greeting clients. The second goodbyes came this weekend while visiting my grandparents in Neosho, Mo. I am extremely close with my mom’s parents and wanted to visit before my big Euro adventure begins. My aunt came down and visited as well, and I was comforted knowing the great family I have and just how excited they are too. Goodbyes consisted of excited hugs and see ya soons. I wonder if it is going to be like this when I am returning from England and having to say goodbye to my new English friends. Only time will tell.
But for now, I am ready for you Prince Harry… err, I mean England.
You stay smashingly terrific now my readers!