On Jan. 5, 2011, two years ago today, I woke up at an ungodly hour, went to the train station, and rode five and a half hours to New York City; I caught a cab to JFK airport, boarded a flight that headed across the pond, and “woke up”—I didn’t really sleep—in London’s Heathrow Airport.
Two years ago today, my semester abroad in London began, and it changed my life.
Unlike some of my classmates, I didn’t live with a host family, but rather stayed in a dumpy cozy flat our program owned. For four months, I slept in a bunk bed, my first time since sleep away camp.
Unlike some study abroad programs, London didn’t offer rigorous courses, but rather classes that were city-specific like “Food, Society, and Culture,” which examined the history of British food and “Sporting London,” which examined the future host of the 2014 Olympics. (I’ll be the first to admit “studying abroad” is a misleading term; there really wasn’t any studying.)
I didn’t go abroad with my best friends or even close friends, but rather with 11 other students, some of whom I knew of (but didn’t really know), and others whom I never spoke to prior to the trip. People from my college know just how wack and cray atypical the 2011 London Study Abroad Program eventually became, but even with some tough times (to put it mildly), I still:
Took a day trip to Stonehenge.
Turned the big 2-1.
Posed for some funny pictures, including this one at Chelsea Football Club.
Went to Wales for a long weekend.
Traveled to Windsor Castle (and Oxford, Warwick Castle, and Stratford-upon-Avon) when my parents visited.
Escaped to Bath, England twice—first with friends (we went to the Roman Baths), and then again when my aunt and uncle visited.
Spent a weekend in Paris, France.
Walked Abbey Road.
And enjoyed some shenanigans.
Two years ago today, I was a junior in college. I didn’t consider myself a runner, and I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue sports or diet and fitness journalism. While abroad, though, I began running again, hurrying home from my internship so I could log miles in Hyde Park. I also became interested in food and nutrition—and realized I didn’t want to write game recaps ever again. People say how pivotal studying abroad can be, and 730 days later, I can honestly say I don’t know if I’d be starting my big-girl almost job on Monday (woohoo!)—or swimming, biking, and running—if I hadn’t lived in London. It’s like the art of the trajectory: “Retiring” from basketball gave me the green light to study abroad, which lead me back to running, which in turn sparked my interest in learning about food, nutrition, and healthy eating; as they say, the rest is history.
Where were you two years ago today?