The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Love Letter

There is something undeniably brilliant about attempting to appreciate everyday and yet, torrential rains, bad news about sick friends, horrifying earthquakes and the stress from work or school or life cause a suffocating pressure so much of the time.

Last semester I was lucky enough to study abroad in London with a group of adventurous and bright peers. It was a different way of life not because just the cars came at us in a different direction, but because everything was coming from a different direction. Accents were foreign, pubs were common and the big commute consisted less of a frustrating traffic on I-5 and more of an overheated tube ride on London’s incredible underground transportation system.

We knew that our time in London was condensed, that a date was set when our big adventure together would be forever over. It seemed the second we set foot on British ground, we all planted thick roots in the new city determined to conquer its sprawling landscape. So daily we set out to explore the place we embraced momentarily as our home.

Its beauty astonished me constantly; the old buildings and darling school kids in their proper uniforms speaking dozens of languages to parents and nannies. I tried not to turn down any opportunity to explore, whether it was within the limits of London, short train rides in any direction, or a simple hop across the water to mainland Europe. It was not a goal to enjoy everyday abroad, it was something I expected of myself and I imagine many of my fellow travelers felt quite similar.

Once setting foot back in the United States after four months of traveling, exploring and enjoying a new world, a place where everything hits in a different direction, where the smells, sounds and sights were always enticing, I felt unbalanced. I embraced London so quickly as my new home and dug deep into the city, grabbing onto anything I possibly could so upon returning, all that was once familiar seemed impossible to grab onto again, it seemed simply unfamiliar. It was a dizzying experience. The roots I had planted were weak.

Now, that I have been able to distance myself slightly not only from London but from that strange feeling of not being able to recognize all that used to be so common, I’ve come to realize something beautiful. I not only got to explore a new city and expand the walls of my home to reach across the Atlantic Ocean but I accomplished a most exciting goal. I was able to truly embrace and enjoy every day in London. While there were inexplicable hiccups in my time abroad, they will not be recorded in my long-term memory.

I’ve been told countless times that after experiencing life abroad people grow, become more independent and naturally catch a travel bug that seems impossible to kill. But I think the most important lesson that comes from such an adventure is the ability to enjoy it all; to get excited easily, to think to stop on the corner of Queens Gate Terrace and Old Brompton for an extra minute simply to stare in awe at the beautiful buildings, to not be ashamed of the tourist pictures taken in front of Big Ben, to laugh at the fact a friend hardly fit her entire wardrobe in a small backpack only for a weekend trip or simply to get that most beautiful feeling of a heart expanding exponentially during a run through Hyde Park at the realization love does not begin to describe my feelings toward London.

Why is it though that it takes a vacation, a sunny Saturday afternoon drive along the water or months abroad for many to realize what an incredible world this is? While everyday may not be perfect, in fact horrible things may be happening all around us in every moment, there must be something perfect to recognize as well. It just takes an eye, and an extra moment on that familiar corner to notice it.



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