Looking out of the plane window and I am granted with a last minute glimpse of England, my home. It’s a beautiful sunny day as I take that last little glimpse until Christmas, the last glimpse before I start my year abroad in Bilbao, I can see the cliffs at the coast and the surprisingly bright blue sea, I think to myself: England you’re really not as bad as I make you out to be.
Okay so you rain a lot; you’re too hot or too cold, you’re infuriating with all your rules and regulations and you charge me a bloody fortune for the privilege of using delayed, smelly public transport, and then make me put up with strange men talking to me, who use “so, you headed to the Job Centre then?” as a conversation starter (post to follow).
BUT, you are the place that I call home, the place where I can get absolutely everything at Tesco (something that my best friend takes full advantage of,) the place where I can get hundreds of different types of tea and biscuits, and of course the place where all the vast majority of my friends and family live. This year you have excelled yourself, you have brought us the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. England, you have done well this year, you’ve given us one to remember.
So I think it is fair to say that… yes, dearest England, I shall miss thee. I’ll miss how green you are, your rolling countryside that varies so much from South to North, West to East, I’ll miss the few snow days we have where the whole country goes to pot. But most importantly I’ll miss you Essex – you babe, you beaut, my county where I’ve been brought up, where you hear “you alright babes?” hundreds of times a day, and where looking orange is more than acceptable.
I sometimes find it odd how certain phrases can be so fitting and so right at one set moment, how they can relate to exactly what we’re feeling, and the one that comes to mind right now is that “you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone.” It’s true, we often, or just the English I’m not sure, criticise our country, but when you actually take that leap and leave it for an extended period, it’s then that you realise that maybe you might be making a sacrifice. Sacrificing all that is comfortable and known for the unknown and the uncomfortable, testing how strong we are as people and what we can accomplish.
I guess what I’m getting at is this, although I’ve lived in Spain before, I’ve done the whole vida española, the fiestas, the siestas, the food and the culture, this time it’ll be different, I’ll be in Bilbao for the whole year studying and that it’s at this moment that I realise, that as much as I love travelling, this is something more permanent, something to make the most of, but something that will push me to the limits. Living abroad for a year might not be easy, but I’m certainly up for the challenge and I feel that it’ll be worth it.
So here ends my musings on leaving England for some time, the announcement to turn off electrical equipment has just been made, so I guess it’s time to switch off and watch as we land in Bilbao. Who knows when I’ll have internet to post this, hopefully soon, but I’ll end by asking all you travellers out there – what is it you miss the most when you leave your country?