Usually, I am showing up to a rehearsal or waiting in the dressing rooms of the UCA two hours before a show starts to get my next interview. Since Iâ€™ve been living and studying in England for the past four months, that part of the job has been a little difficult to achieve. So here I am, writing to you from across the pond about something Iâ€™ve learned since I left Colorado:
â€œEverything is going to change, and itâ€™s not going to change back.â€
Yes, that is a line from a recent episode of Glee. How recent I canâ€™t say, since I still havenâ€™t gotten used to the time zone difference.
Still, I thought it was worth repeating, especially since change is something they tell you is going to happen when you study abroad. Change is something you might not want to happen when you do study abroad, but change is something that does happen, and it did happen… to me.
If you do plan to study abroad, there will be days when everything goes right and you feel like you could conquer the world. There will also be days when life just plain sucks and you might start to regret ever leaving. At some point, though, there will be that day when you look back at where you were in your life a year ago and say, â€œWho the heck was I?â€ Itâ€™s on that day when everything will fall into place, and youâ€™ll feel as though youâ€™ve lived in [insert city name here] all your life.
Using the local phrases, cutting my hair and actually having a drink for the first time in my life â€” to the surprise of every person that I know â€” are not the type of changes Iâ€™m talking about.
How I changed isnâ€™t something that can exactly be traced, nor can it be expected. I didnâ€™t know I changed â€” not dramatically, but noticeably â€” until very recently. When I realized I did, it felt like the world stopped spinning for a split second.
And then it started to spin again. The world hadnâ€™t ended; it had just shifted.
One thing you have to realize when you go through a major transition like this is that everything back home is changing too.
Culture shock is one thing when you live in a different country; itâ€™s to be expected. Itâ€™s a completely different matter when you go back to a place where youâ€™ve spent practically your whole life.
I know vaguely what awaits me when I do return back home: my own bed, American cheeseburgers and more interviewing people backstage. I know, too, that it will be much more complicated than that. Most of my friends will be able to drink legally, which is just plain weird to think about. Some of my friends will have graduated, a change I wonâ€™t be able to contemplate for another year. And Iâ€™m sure I will have to have a lot of inside jokes explained to me because I wasnâ€™t there.
I was scared beyond belief of changing before I left. I was terrified up until the day I stepped off that plane and onto British soil.
I didnâ€™t want to change, but everyone told me that I would. It turns out they were right. What they didnâ€™t tell me was that I would change into a more thankful, more confident and more awesome person than I already was.
And I am so happy that there is no changing back.
Lianna Salva is a junior English major.