Nine years ago today, I stepped off the plane at Heathrow airport. 18 years old and I'd moved to another country. To start a new life miles and miles away from what I knew. I'd only applied for my passport the month before so had just the one stamp.
I remember I was wearing a pair of really short shorts and my favourite tank-top. I was trying to grow my hair out and I believe I was still in that very brief phase of wearing contact lenses. I was two sizes smaller than I am now. I hadn't heard of blogs or owned a mobile phone as yet. I'd never driven a car or paid a bill. I'd never had any savings, instead I'd blow my entire (small) paychecks on books. In fact, I carried far too many books in my suitcase as it was but I did bring along a friend.
In the cab ride to N's home, I wanted to stick my head out the window and see everything. When I did though, someone yelled racist abuse at me. What I saw was so grey and dingy-looking anyway. I think I was expecting to land and see castles and grand, stately homes. England was very different than the England in my head.
It was a difficult transition, moving to England. There was a lot of growing up that needed to be done. It's still a work in progress. I'd like to become a citizen one of these days, but I haven't yet studied for my test. I'd like to see more of England, do some long-overdue exploring. Nine years is a very long time. Living in the United States seems like such a lifetime ago that some days I hardly believed it ever happened.
What did you do the summer you turned 18?