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Home Sweet Home August 22, 2012

Posted by sesolomon in Travel Log.
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Free water, free bathrooms, ice in my drink, people who speak my own language, friends, family, homemade food, cars on the right side of the road, WalMart, Jimmy John’s, Chick-Fil-A, my car, American music, Tech…

As sad as I was to leave the beautiful continent of Europe, there really is no place like home.  My companions and I felt a bit guilty about being excited to finish up our amazing study abroad, but in the words of my mother, “11 weeks really is quite long, Sonja.”  Probably the hardest part about leaving Oxford was dragging my 25kg (the limit was 23kg…) suitcase, stuffed duffle, and backpack all the way from my dorm across campus to the bus.  By the end of the trek, my hands, arms, and back were all sore from dragging the ridiculous amount of necessities and souvenirs I had brought/procured from Europe.  After our last breakfast in the Oxford dining hall, Oxford Group 3 boarded the bus for the last time and began our journey home.  We enjoyed our last moments together as a group by recounting stories, laughing until we cried, and reading superlatives about each group member.  I never thought I would become so attached to these new friends I had made this summer but it was definitely very hard to say goodbye to them, no matter how excited I was to go home.  Thank goodness we all go to the same college and this won’t be the last time I ever see them!

When we arrived at the airport, 50 students with 11 weeks of intense traveling experience quickly and expertly disembarked from the bus, checked in our luggage, went through security (our last time for awhile!!) and headed to our gate.  The 9 hour plane ride seemed considerably longer as I was extremely anxious to see my parents after our three month separation.  Upon landing, we headed through customs, grabbed our bags, and almost sprinted towards the exit.  I quickly spotted my parents and made a beeline straight for them.  I had assumed that my mom would be the first to rush forward and hug me but it was in fact my dad who beat her to it, almost pushing her out of the way, in order to hug me first.  After giving both my parents two big hugs, I spotted my best friend Lucy Tucker who had come to surprise me at the airport as well.  Words cannot describe how happy I was in that moment to be home with the people I love most.

After a delectable dinner of my favorite restaurant, Jimmy John’s, we started the three hour drive home to Tennessee.  Needless to say, I passed out in the car on the way home and stumbled up to my own wonderful bed once we had arrived home at midnight (keep in mind, this is 5am Oxford time).

I cannot even begin to describe how incredible this summer study abroad program has been for me.  Saying it was one of the best experiences of my life doesn’t even do it justice.  Because of the generosity of the Fleet Scholarship and my parents, I was able to travel to dozens of different cities, learn about their culture, experience the Olympics in person, make new friends, and much much more.  Thank you so very much for this absolutely incredible opportunity; it has truly been a life-changing experience that I will always hold close to my heart.

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