The past four months have been the craziest time of my life. Traveling to London was one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken because it was my first time being outside California. Going outside of California taught me a lot, it showed me the world didn’t have sunshine every single day, or palm trees around every single corner. One of the biggest qualities of the people of London is their diversity. The people of London bring so much culture and history into the ethnic melting pot that is London. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world in London, some of which include the Czech Republic, Nigeria, Ecuador, Indonesia, and South Korea. Meeting all these people helped me understand the world and its people. I’ve learned how history and culture influences a person’s beliefs. Studying in London was also one of the most stressful times of my life because I had to learn how to balance homework, a social life, and traveling. I’ve done so many things that people can only dream of within the span of four months. I’ve explored most of the United Kingdom, visited France, Italy, and Germany and have seen countless live plays. Unfortunately, my time in London was short. Our program ended so that we could come back in time for Thanksgiving and to spend time with friends and family. Because it’s Thanksgiving, I want to write this post to recount the blessings that I’ve had throughout my trip to London.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn how to travel. Never would I have imagined me and a few friends going on a weekend trip to Germany. Our trip to Germany was the first trip that I’ve taken to a country that speaks a foreign language. Thankfully again, most Germans knew English fluently so getting around wasn’t too challenging. I’m also thankful that my friend waited until 2am for us and squeezed four people into his tiny apartment in the center of Berlin. Going to Berlin also helped us prepare for the rest of Europe. We made sure to pack rain gear because we experienced a torrential downpour in Berlin. We also made sure to convert out US dollars to Euros before entering the country because most shops don’t take American credit cards.I’m thankful that we suffered these tribulations because it made our trip to Italy much more worthwhile. Going to Italy was one of the highlights of my trip. It was amazing to see the beauty of nature combined with the handiwork of man. We were prepared to take on the rain. We actually took on a monsoon instead and lived. We also prepared ourselves with Euros and indulged in gelato. Our professors then took us to Paris toward the end of our semester. I’m thankful for having such awesome professors even though they drive me crazy sometimes. I was quite fearful of coming into Paris at first because one of my friends described it as a place where “you should wear your backpack in the front.” The pretense I built up led to an image of Paris being filled with pickpockets and thugs. Fortunately, all of this disappeared once I was there. I soon fell in love with the city and its people. Most of the events we did in Paris we ended up doing for free. Because we were students studying in the EU, we were able to visit the Palace of Versailles, climb atop the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and enter the Louvre for free. Paris turned out to be our cheapest trip yet. Traveling in foreign countries has helped me learn how to be independent and how to act when I feel lost. I’m thankful to God that I had the opportunity to travel so that I can learn more about myself and about people.
The next thing that I’m thankful for is the communities I’ve found in London. I’m thankful for the community that we have in our London study abroad group because we’re all so supportive of each other. It was great to be in London with this group of people because we were going through the same challenges academically and we can support each other through it. It also helps that we come from the same university because it gives us a sense of familiarity with each other when we feel lost. I’m also thankful for a wonderful community that I’ve found in the city of London. I got introduced to Hillsong London’s connect group, which is a group where young adults from the church can hang out and connect, and quickly bonded with them. I’ve only spent time with them for two months, and in those two months, they’ve quickly become a family to me. They’re an awesome bunch of people who are supportive and make me smile. They’re what made London into a second home for me. We’ve gone on awesome adventures such as paintballing, going to a ping pong bar, and random trips to Nandos. I’m also thankful for the community that I have back home in San Jose. I’m thankful for a supportive, loving family that funds my education and allowed me to make this big step in my life. I’m also thankful for an awesome group of friends that I can talk to about my career and future.
If you made it here, I want to say thank you for reading my list of blessings.