I am about 33,000 feet over the North Atlantic as I am writing this. It’s weird to look out the window and see only water for as far as the eye can see. Part of me has never loved the idea of flying over the ocean. I’ll try not to think about it. Syd is on her second movie of the flight. I just finished my first (Argo) but needed a break. Fun fact, we’re on Delta’s “Breast Cancer One”. The tail is pink instead of the standard blue and red.
It’s kind of weird to be heading back to the States. Allow me to be sentimental and retrospective for a bit. I had always wanted to do an internship abroad. I just wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. Every time I researched the prospects online I just found dead ends. I had just interviewed with Real Salt Lake for an internship working under their Premium Services Manager. The interview went really well, and the position was one that I had had my eye on for several months. Which is why it surprised me when she called wanting to if I was still interested and I told her I wasn’t. The next day I got an email from the Kennedy Center at BYU informing me about the London Internship program.
This has been a great experience. The biggest thing that took me by surprise was realizing that it wasn’t a vacation. I mean, I knew that going in. But it didn’t really sink in until we got London and started working. Our weekends in Madrid and Prague were so nice and relaxing because those were our vacations.
Where we lived wasn’t necessarily ideal, but it worked out. The flat was great and we had the opportunity to live and interact with Canadians, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Hungarians, French, Austrians, Americans, Polish, Spanish, and even a girl from BYU-Hawaii. The location wouldn’t necessarily be a place we would live in again, though. Then again, it’s not realistic to think that we have the money to afford a picturesque flat in Notting Hill, either.
The people at Jon Baines Tours were great. I definitely felt like part of the team. It was a pretty laid-back environment, which I loved. And Becca and Naomi were always willing to give me London tips and answer my questions about British things. Not to mention, the part of London where the office is—I LOVE THAT PLACE. I am going to miss walking along Northcote road everyday. Last Wednesday as I left, it started to drizzle a little. It was oddly kind of perfect.
There’s so much to do in London. We didn’t come close to seeing everything to be seen. This has made me want to do more in Provo during my last semester. Provo is a cool place (I mean, it’s no London, but there’s a lot more to it than just LDS meetinghouses).
SIDE NOTE: the flight attendants just gave us ice cream. Props, Delta.
It was refreshing to see so much diversity. Walk down the street and I would see people of all ethnicities and all religions. And guess what, everyone showed each other respect. I am reminded that we’re all human. We all have similar concerns and worries, joys, and triumphs. The mother trying to control her children on the bus, the stranger that helps lift-up the stroller. The woman on the tube, sitting with her fiancé, and smiling at the picture of her ultrasound. The people rushing to and from work every day, and the man that has train doors close just as he approaches them. The group of teenagers who still haven’t realized just how loud they’re talking. When it comes down to it, we’re not all that different. The words of the late Ralph Brown (one of my sociology professors) come to mind. When talking about his experience of growing up in rural Utah and serving an LDS mission in Indonesia he said that he realized that, “the world was not what those who had never been there said it was.”
Syd and I have loved it in London. We definitely would not shy away from the chance to live abroad if the job opportunities presented themselves. I think it was also good for our marriage. Marriage can be hard to begin with. Add the stress of living in foreign country where you don’t know anybody else and it really forces you to rely on each other more. Whether it was relying on the language abilities of the other or learning to trust that the other knew where they were going, it was a good experience.
I could write paragraphs about all the little things I’ll miss. Whether it’s everybody reading the Evening Standard on the trains or that flavor of Tesco fruit juice that we found. I could analyze London from the perspective of EIM major, but don’t worry, I won’t. This experience was incredible. I am sad that it’s over, but I’m excited for what new adventure awaits us come graduation.