By Jantsen McBride
As my study abroad adventure comes to a close, I feel I must remark on what it feels like to pack up a semester’s worth of living to go home. I was allowed one carry-on suitcase, a backpack and one checked bag to accompany me home to the United States. If anyone knows me well, they know firsthand of my shopping addiction. Hello my name is Jantsen, and I am a shopaholic. There I admit it. So when it came down to packing, deciding what to bring home and what to leave was quite an obstacle. I left all my pots and pans/food/bedding/etc. with Marley and the Albino HQ (his flat), packed all of my family’s Christmas gifts in my carry-on and managed to squeeze every amount of space full with clothing in my other bags. Total packing time: more than four hours. Thank the Lord that Marley’s mom picked me up from the flat with all my cargo because there is no way I would have managed on my own! Also, a quick shout-out to my parents for the luggage scale-it came in handy when weighing my bag that could not be more than fifty pounds. Even bigger shout-out to Marley for lifting and weighing the bags repeatedly!
That Friday, I had the extreme pleasure of having one last night out with my close English friends. After getting spiffy we went to my favorite Italian restaurant in Lancaster, Molinari’s, for one “last supper.” Ella, Ben, Andy, Holly, Toni, Pete, Marley and I had a wonderful evening full of laughter, good food and reminiscing on the semester’s good times. After dinner everyone was acting a little funny and then they turned to me and told me they had all pitched in and gotten me some going away presents. I couldn’t believe it. How in the world did I manage to land such great friends while abroad? The thoughtful gesture was so appreciated and I am incredibly blessed to have met such genuine, caring, beautiful people on my study abroad adventure. The intricate photo album, English socks and “fit American” card will forever be a symbol in my memory of the wonderful times I shared with my adoptive off-campus flat mates (+Pete and Ben). Looking back on that first day in my flat’s kitchen, I could have never guessed the friendships I would make in England would be some of the best of my life. Thank you to everyone who welcomed me with open arms and made England feel like my home away from home. As the Beatles say, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Xs and Os,