Now that I’ve been back in the USA for two weeks I should really start to feel like I’m “home”, right? Well, sometimes I feel like, or hope like I’m back in England. Maybe that’s because Wisconsin has had almost constant rain. As I’m writing this I am listening to the longest, continuous thunder ever. Literally, I’ve written four sentences and it’s still booming! Rain rain go away!!  Maybe I don’t feel like I’m “home” yet because a large part of my heart was left abroad.

I miss my flatmates, my international friends, my British friends. I miss my classes, and all of my usual walks. I miss the freedom and independence and the constant group of people always ready to hang out. Oh, and I really really miss British cider. OK, I mostly drank Swedish ciders like Rikorderlig and Kopperberg, but still. Supposedly I can get that in the US so hopefully that desire will be assuaged soon.

The people have left the worst hole. I hate that there’s a time difference so whenever I’m online they aren’t. I hate the very real possibility that I may never see some of them again. We made hopeful plans to meet someday in Chicago, or maybe even Hawaii. We made promises to invite each to our weddings, and made predictions on who would get pregnant and married first.

I wish I had a chance to miss the rain, unfortunately it’s been raining quite a lot over here. I had hoped that when I landed back in the States I wouldn’t have to worry about rain more than MAYBE once a week.

I suppose I should give my top tips for coming home after studying abroad? So here goes!

  1. Get ready for the pain of leaving your new life and your new friends to be worse than when you went away.  Crazy as it seems, I cried almost the whole flight to Fort Wayne.
  2. I wanted to make time to see everyone, right away,…but the reality is that everyone else’s lives did move on. They have jobs and scheduling engagements, so don’t feel sad when they can’t immediately rush to your side. They still love you, I promise.
  3. (I’m stealing this one from Brenna). Don’t worry, or obsess, or feel jealous over how much or how different everyone else’s traveling adventures. Yours are just as great, only different. Yes, sometimes it doesn’t feel right that some of your friends traveled every single weekend, but if you remember how great the trips you took were then it’ll feel better.
  4. Go ahead and give yourself a small window of time to fulfill all of your re-entry cravings and then get ready to lose the weight you happily gained from study abroad. I don’t regret any of the cider, chocolate, or foreign foods I binged on, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be healthy. So thank goodness for Butterfingers, popcorn, and Cherry Coke and good, tasty, fresh fruit and vegetables.
  5. Barry, my stepdad, had this brilliant idea concerning all of the pictures I took. He thought I should organize a smaller folder with only the pictures I really loved. That way I can show a smaller, more concise snapshot of my semester abroad and the viewers wouldn’t get bored. It’s still over 200 pictures, but I guess that’s better than 2,000!
  6. Make serious plans to go back. Like, right away.

OK, what else. Well,…I am going to keep writing this blog. I might put things in here about my campers, my final school year at St. Norbert, and life in general. That may mean that some of you stop reading, but I hope you won’t! It was a huge pleasure and joy to watch different countries, friends, and strangers read my musings and I really appreciated your “comments” and “likes”.

Holly spent a semester in Manchester, England. You can read more about her time there and at home at her blog.