new year, new horizons.

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Here I am. Four days after my return to the U.S. after my first trip out of the country. I’m not sure how capable I am of describing this remarkable experience with words, but I’m convinced that if I don’t at least try, I will daydream my life away. Not to mention, I will almost certainly lose friends on account of I can no longer have a conversation that doesn’t in some way pertain to “when I was in England…”

Since touching down in Chicago, I’ve been battling post-travel sickness and the inevitable jetlag that results from jumping 6 time zones in a single day. But this is all expected. What I didn’t expect was how different things would feel after just 13 days and I’m not just talking about the accents, or the time change, or the food…everything. As I began recounting stories over dinner with some of my closest girlfriends, one interrupted me saying, “You look different.” I waved off her flattery, but then it hit me. “I feel different,” I said. There was another moment of exchanging knowing glances, followed by one final conclusion from my other girlfriend, “It’s because you are different.” I can’t help but smile to myself when I think about how true that is.

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to go abroad and see such amazing and beautiful places, not to mention meet such wonderful people along the way. I have made friends with people I would’ve never known existed and memories to last a lifetime. So to every family member, friend, professor, coworker, boss, and everyone in between who supported me on this adventure, I offer to you my sincerest thanks.

I have a plethora of stories about London, which I’m sure I’ll write about from time to time, but for now I’d just like to say Happy New Year. I hope each of you greets 2014 with an adventurously expectant spirit, allowing past experiences to shape, not define, who you are.

Cheers! To a new year and new horizons!

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