I just renewed my Disney World annual pass and I can feel the judgment from people now, even though I’m alone in my apartment on my couch under a monkey blanket.Read More
I expected to fall in love with you and your double-decked buses brightening up every street. I expected to stop and eavesdrop on conversations just to hear proper British accents dressing up even McDonald's orders. I expected to master the Tube and envy Oyster cards. I expected to feel closer to Hogwarts than I ever had.
But your true beauty, London, didn't come from these things. It came from the people, friendly but not trying to talk to you at every corner, and the history. In a way, America's history is connected to that of England. A book my Colonial Mysteries class read talks about how Roanoke is really the start of the United States' history. But does it really begin there? Does history ever really "start," or has it been here all along?
I felt comfortable walking down Kensington High Street alone, but still very American in my short black coat and Vera Bradley purse. The minute I opened my mouth people would know, if not my nationality, my continent. There is a culture here, one that history did not remain in the States 240 years ago. And I feel as if we're missing out on it.
You are one of the safest cities in the world. And yes, that requires cameras staring me down as I descended to the Tube platform. But it also means I let my purse hang free, I didn't hesitate to ask strangers for help. I felt comfortable not talking for once inside each. Something America rarely lets us do.
London, I never wanted to let go of you. I wanted to blend into the crowds on Oxford Street and live near Soho. I wanted to eat non-pub food and make jokes about Nando's. I wanted to grow up in a crisp school uniform with a matching coat and hat. I wanted to sit in your bookstores and soak in the art on the cover of each book, something drastically missing from the States' shelves.
So to the homeless man we passed everyday on the street, to the bartender who apologized for carding me, to the countless Underground workers who let me through once my card stopped working, and to the Beefeater who gave us the best tour of a historical site I've ever had: you are my London. And London, you are my city.
And I can't wait to return.
“Don't spend your precious time asking 'Why isn't the world a better place?' It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is "How can I make it better?" To that there is an answer.” -Leo Buscaglia
I found this quote in a box my friend Jordan keeps on her desk, a square little thing that allows you to switch out a quote whenever the mood strikes. Buscaglia's quote, the first one I came across, really struck me. A part of it is recent events in my life, but also after seeing the Cinderella movie last Saturday.
"Have courage, and be kind" is the mantra of the movie, the words Cinderella lives her life by. Yet they seem to fail her, causing her to let others bully her around while she just waits for something to happen. Instead of working to better her predicament, she just accepts it in order to remain "kind" and "courageous."
When I first left the theater, I wished I was more like Cinderella- always kind and never letting others affect my character. Which is fine, but I've realized since then that you have to be more than that. Wishing is not enough; you have to act to get what you want.
That's why I like Buscaglia's quote. Constantly when I'm faced with horrible things, whether they're happening to the world or to my friends or to me, I feel helpless. What can I, just an almost 21-year-old in Indiana, do to help? Frequently that little voice in my head says, "nothing."
That's where mantras come in. Cinderella's might work out for her in the end, but it doesn't help me to understand why the world can be so cruel sometimes. I've been trying to find the right one, something that reminds me that all is not lost. I don't have to lose a positive attitude in order to care about all the hurt that happens. I still haven't found something yet, the perfect mantra. The perfect solution to an impossible problem.
But there's something about the thought "how can I make it better?" that I like. One of the most important things I've learned in college is to ask "how can I fix this?" whenever I'm stressed or have a problem. It allows me to handle the problems in a tangible way, and almost always makes me feel better. And even if the problem is "everyone is starving" and not "I have a paper and a presentation due the same day," this idea can still work.
It's going to take some time. It's going to take some effort. But I hope that, with that time and effort, I'll be able to create a solution all my own. One that allows me to create a mantra that's personalized, memorable, and, most importantly, mine.