I’ve officially been on American shores for exactly one hundred and one days(!!!), and so I thought it was about time that I broke my silence with a reflection on how things have been since I relocated in the summer. Yesterday (Thursday Nov 26) was Thanksgiving in the USA, and so amidst the flurry of people packing up and dashing home to visit their families for this all-American holiday, I found myself slowing down, and I also had the time to be properly thankful for what I have here.
On the 18th of August I left the UK entirely, not really sure what I was getting myself into or what exactly was to come. As difficult as it was, and as much as I couldn’t help thinking “I’ve made a bloody huge mistake”, the transition was made all the easier by my parents thanks to them being so marvelously accepting of the entire venture. I’m grateful to them every day for supporting me in all of the crazy things I’ve done and all of the crazy things I’ll inevitably suggest in the future: having their only child move to another continent at 18 was never really part of the plan, but they both took it in their stride and neither of them have faltered since. Thank you, parents. I appreciate it and I love you both.
When I first arrived here, I had previously only spent a maximum of 72 hours in the United States – not even enough time to get over the jetlag. Everything was painfully new to me; so it is a relief, three months on, to feel comfortable in this country. Harvard as an institution has proved itself to be a challenge both academically and culturally, but it is also incredibly rewarding, and I am grateful (and slightly overwhelmed) every day to call this place my school; my home. For those who are curious, it really is no different to any ther university: there’s a lot of work and not enough sleep, and no-one ever really knows quite what they’re doing.
I am blessed to have a stellar support system on this side of the pond in the form of Deane and Dick who were simply wonderful during my first few weeks alone in Boston (thank you Daisy!), as well as my fabulous friends, in particular my roommates; Angela, Amy, Ana and Shira. They have been wonderful: consistently patient and responsive to my cries of “help I’m foreign!”, caring and inspiring beyond belief, and incredibly funny to top it all off. I love them, and I’m so happy that we live together. Finally, there’s my host family Andrew, John and Danya, with whom I spent my first Thanksgiving just yesterday. Alongside the all-American Thanksgiving experience, I was reminded once again of how lucky I am to have a home away from home in a country which can sometimes feel very foreign.
Suddenly stripping away everything you previously knew is a very confusing experience for anyone moving to a new place, let alone to a different continent, and I largely credit my time at Plockton for making the transition infinitely easier. Nevertheless, there are times when everyone needs a bit of familiarity. For me, the personification of this arrived in mid-October in the form of my uncle Vincent, who went above and beyond to allow me a weekend away, not just from Harvard but from Massachusetts entirely. Equipped with an iPhone and my dodgy navigation skills, we drove up to Maine, and for the first time in a while I was able to be entirely British about the whole thing. I appreciated that more than I let on at the time, and it truly helped me keep everything in perspective.
It is easy at times to lose sight what an incredible opportunity this is, when you’re drowning in reading and you’re not quite sure there is time to sleep in the next few days (“there wasn’t any room in my schedule,” I have definitely said more than once as I justify another all-nighter to my less-than-impressed roommates). But when all is said and done, I’m learning more and more every day and having the time of my life doing so. Any complaints I can possibly fathom are true first world problems, and they really don’t matter at all. Not at all.
So, in the spirit of things, here I am giving thanks: for this wonderful, crazy adventure, for these wonderful, crazy people, and for everything that is to come. I’m really bloody grateful to be where I am. Cheers.
TL;DR– everything is great!