Lovely London

I'm spending the semester at Regent's American College London. This is my documentation of the mundane and magnificent.

3am

by skylarhaubert

I’m lying to myself saying that I’m up this late in attempt to ward of jet lag coming home tomorrow. But the real reason is I’m using the internet to ward off all feelings of sadness that come while lying in the dark, alone, in my London bed for the last time. I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.

But just to set things straight, friends, I’m not sad about coming home. I’m sad about leaving. Jenna shared with me earlier that it hurts to hear that I’m sad about coming back to a place that makes her so happy. But that’s all wrong! I’m totally excited about coming home! I have a ton of things to look forward to in the upcoming year. However, I’m absolutely torn because I hate leaving and saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made and the life I’ve built here. I’m emotionally exhausted and I’m so desperately trying to put my heart in two places at once: home and my home away from home. 

But let me tell you what I’m excited for:

Running up to my parents at the airport

Swooping up Grayson and giving him a giant kiss

Giving Jenna the biggest hug ever and not letting go for 5 minutes

Meeting Matt in person for the first time tomorrow night

Racy’s blend

and my bed. My big, comfy, warm bed. 

Not to mention summer and all the fun that comes along with it!

 

See you soon America!

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Where You Will Find Yourself

by Thought Catalog

The words of someone else that I wish I had written myself. Basically sums up my study abroad experience and “finding myself.”

Thought Catalog

One day, my friend told me that she was moving to South America because she felt like, whatever she was meant to become, she wasn’t going to become it here. (Here was Washington, DC, and for what it’s worth, I feel like DC seems pretty big and “discovery-ready” for many people. It was for me at the time, anyway.) There’s always a certain air of pretentiousness, of privilege, surrounding blanket statements like that. We were having coffee in a city I had long dreamed of coming to, and she couldn’t wait to shed it off of her like a molting snake. I suddenly felt embarrassed over being so excited about DC, like it was only a stepping stone when she was moving onto The Real Thing.

She came back two years later. She was tanner, and thinner, and had longer hair. From what I could tell, though, she was pretty…

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Coming Home

by skylarhaubert

I come home in three days. Three days. I know time flies when you’re having fun, but really?! Three days left?! I just read over my past blog posts and it honestly feels like just a couple weeks ago when I was writing “It’s my last night in America before I leave for four months…”

It’s a strange feeling – leaving. It’s strange that I left everything I’ve ever known to come live in England for the semester. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s going to be like to come back home and I can’t exactly wrap my mind around it. I know one thing for sure – it won’t be the same. At first I thought, “Yes, I’m going to go back home and carry on with my life just as I left it.” Almost as though I put my life on pause. But life didn’t pause. Everyone kept on living, and learning, and growing…and so have I. 

I am not the same person as when I came to London in January. I’ve tried reflecting on what is exactly different but I’m not sure I can put my finger on it. Maybe it will be clearer once I’m at home, back in my element, and am able to compare how it is now to how it was then. 

I’m coming back to America with a different outlook on the world. I’ve been places that most people have never been and seen things that most people have never seen. I never want to take that fact for granted and I never want to seem conceited about it either. But it’s the truth. Traveling abroad is an experience that is nearly unexplainable. The only people who can fully understand it are the people who have done it. I think it’s really cool that all of the study abroad kids in my program have something in common – a sense of adventure. We all are longing for something bigger than ourselves and we’re actively out searching for it. The best part is – the search isn’t over. I know I’m not the only one who has considered moving to London or doing another term abroad. Travel is addicting. But why? I think it’s because it’s a journey to finding out who we really are. Sometimes you have to get out of yourself to find yourself.

Here are just a few of the many things I’ve learned over the past few months:

Lesson #1 –  God is huge. He is with us wherever we go. Always. Period. 

I was worried about leaving my Bible study group and my church and my best friend Elena who is seriously a soul sister in Christ. I thought if I left all these things, I would lose my relationship with God and that scared me. But I was so wrong. God has revealed himself to me time and time gain. My relationship with Him has soared since I’ve been here. I’ve had a lot of free time (thanks to an easy class schedule) to really dive into the Word and prayer and find out who God really is. I’ve been welcomed into the London Vineyard so warmly and even got involved with a Bible study. I am constantly in awe of God’s enormity. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

Lesson #2 – Soak it in.

I’ve always been a planner. I’ve always craved adventures. I’ve always wanted to know what’s happening next because the hope of tomorrow is more exciting than the reality of today. But Abi said something to me in Scotland that honestly changed me. As she, Aaron, and I were singing karaoke in a small Dalkeith pub, she turned to me and said “Soak it in, Skylar!” It seems like such a simple concept but it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first time, I was actually soaking in a moment for everything it’s worth. Now, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a step back just to “soak it in.” Life is so sweet when we realize that tomorrow is today and there is excitement and adventure in every moment. 

Lesson #3 – Home is where your mama is.

I miss my mom. I used to call her six times a day just to tell her funny stories (like the first day of college when I called to say, “I just saw a kid fall off his unicycle! Hahaha okay that’s all. Bye.”) We’re just close like that. I don’t talk to her every day anymore and that’s so weird for me. I don’t know what she’s up to and she has no idea what I’m doing most of the time. When I say I miss home, I mostly mean I miss my mom. She came to visit me over spring break and that was the best week of my semester. We sat in a cafe on some random street in London and talked for three hours – if I didn’t look around me, I could have been at my kitchen table for all I knew! Home is where your mom is, kids, and don’t ever forget that. And for you kids who don’t have a mom, your moms are in Heaven and that’s your ultimate Home so this message is for you too 🙂

These things that I’ve come to realize are constant. These are things that do not change. But we change and our circumstances change and life changes and that can be a little overwhelming at times. I’m coming back home to a life that hasn’t been put on pause, contrary to my former perception. I’m coming home with a boyfriend. I’m coming home with one less family member. I’m coming home to a brother who has gotten really big and has learned a lot of new things. I’m coming home and leaving behind the friends that I’ve made here. I’m coming home with a new outlook on life. I’m coming home without my old fears and insecurities. I’m coming home with a bigger idea of God than I left with. I’m coming home to where my mama is. I’m coming home and I’m gonna soak in every minute of every day even if it’s mundane because life is an adventure and I refuse to forget that. 

 

Aaron is here!

by skylarhaubert

I have been an absolutely terrible blogger! I realize that I haven’t written about Dublin, Barcelona, or Vienna but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have all these memories locked inside my mind and I’ve tried countless times to put them down on paper but my writing does not give my experiences justice. They are memories that I will be able to bring up in conversation for the rest of my life, like, “Oh, remember that one time in Dublin when…” Priceless memories that are so much more than some words I can write in a blog post. 

But right now, in this very moment, I’m sitting in my bed drinking coffee next to one of my closest friends and it just seems like a good time to write some thoughts down. Abi, Aaron, and I had a serious heart-to-heart talk last night about friendships and it really got me thinking. I am incredibly lucky to have these people in my life; Aaron, a friend I’ve had since middle school, and Abi a friend I met my first day of college. Now, here we are in London. I never could have imagined this. My friends old and new are forming friendships and that makes my heart happy. 

Yesterday, we showed Aaron around London – you know, those good ol’ touristy things like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and the like. But then we had this moment (cheesy group hug included) while looking at the sunset behind Big Ben when reality sunk in and we realized where we were and who we were with. Nothing is better than being in the city that I love with some of my very closest friends. I have shared so much with these two and I’m excited to see where life takes us. 

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Barcelona!

by skylarhaubert

Abi and I leave for Barcelona in 45 minutes. I am PUMPED! This is a 100% spur of the moment trip. We hadn’t really planned on visiting Spain because we didn’t think we could afford it after all our other trips. Well, just a few weeks ago, Abi ended up finding super cheap plane tickets and a really nice hostel that’s only 13 euro per night (combined!). So now we’re about to leave and we really have zero plan whatsoever. I’m most excited for this trip and I think it’s because it’s just going to be one big spontaneous adventure. I mean, we literally don’t have a single thing planned. We want to go to the ice bar because our friends went and said it was really fun. But otherwise – nada. We don’t even know what there is to do in Barcelona, nor do we care. I have a feeling we’re going to get back and people are going to say “Oh! Did you see the blah-de-blah-da.” No, we did not. We will see the beach. The forecast says 70 and sunny with 0% chance of rain all weekend. All our other trips have been planned to the T and we’ve had a list of certain things we HAD to see or do while we were there but this trip is different and I think that’s why I’m so excited for it! This is the definition of “living in the moment.” Hasta luego! 

Weekend Update

by skylarhaubert

I had a crazy fun weekend with the beautiful Hayley! Hayley is one of my best friends from Scholastica and is studying in Spain for the semester. It was SO great having her here. She definitely gave me a fresh perspective on London. Now that I’m used to living here I forget how lucky I am. As we were walking up to my dorm, Hayley was like “Wow! You go to school here?! This is gorgeous!” And I just stepped back, took another look, and realized how lucky I actually am. I really needed a new outlook to get me out of this homesick groove.

I haven’t seen this much of London since my first weekend here! We saw everything I’ve already seen and more! On Friday, I think we walked around for 7 hours before we finally took a break. We saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster. We toured St. Paul’s Cathedral and got to go to the very top balcony, which I didn’t get a chance to do my first time there. At night we walked around Picadilly Circus – that’s just an experience very Londoner has to have. It looks like New York with giant flashing signs, Broadway shows left and right, and club promoters hounding you to come in to their bar. The next day we went to Portobello Market – my favorite market, by far. I still have a few that I want to visit but this one was just so dang cool! It is literally two miles of little shops full of trinkets, antiques, vintage clothing, new clothing, jewelry, and food. I can’t even describe it. After that, Hayley and her friend went to Abbey Road and rode the London Eye. Then we attempted to go sit on the lions in Trafalgar Square (I’ll post pictures later) but they are way too big! It was a hilarious experience. Hayley is super short so watching her try to hoist herself up on this gigantic platform was a hoot. We finished the night with a nice dinner, a glass of wine, and (of course) there’s always room for dessert! Right, Hayley? 😉

It was lovely being able to catch up with such a great friend. I am truly blessed. 

Attempted Explanation

by skylarhaubert

Nostalgia crashed over me like a wave tonight. I know I get made fun of for my “obsession” with Bon Iver but, honestly, there is power in music.

I’ve been laying in the dark for the past two hours listening to Bon – my original thought was that it would help me fall asleep. I haven’t listened to much music since I’ve been here (which is odd) so this is really the first time I’ve just laid back and listened and let my thoughts carry me away.

I’ve never been able to explain my love for this music before – until now (and even this doesn’t do it any justice whatsoever). It came upon me that music carries an immense amount of sentimentality because it comes along with loads of memories, senses, and emotions. I was blasted with sensory overload tonight as I laid in bed and listened to ‘Minnesota, WI’ for about the 800th time.

I realized that each song is like a keepsake that I’ll always have close to my heart. I listened to these albums on repeat for years! Every note carries with it a name, or a face, a smell, or a place, a feeling, or an image of the past.

The first time I heard anything by Justin Vernon was driving down Highway 40 when Graham showed me “Dusty Road (So Kind)” by DeYarmond Edison. Believe it or not, I hated it! Then I heard “Blood Bank” and that caught my attention. That song will always remind me of those sweet years of falling in love for the first time, driving through blizzards with my best friend, and Christmases spent laying underneath the tree staring up at the lights. “Skinny Love” is the song I cried myself to sleep to almost every night for three months after my first heartbreak. And I say these things with so much tenderness because I know that all this is in the past – but yet, it was so much a part of my growth into who I am now. “Skinny Love” also has good memories – like driving around Duluth with some of my best friends, belting it out at the top of our lungs. I will never forget when Aaron learned “Re:Stacks” for me on guitar and played it to me in my backyard on a hot summer evening.  We both love that one and still drive around Elk Mound’s backroads listening to it without saying a word. When I listen to “Flume” I picture driving from Duluth back home on a crisp fall night. So much of this goes without saying because how can I possibly put all these memories into words? “Wisconsin” reminds me of the hard times I went through my freshman year of college when I was finally away from home for the first time; taking long walks alone on the frozen shore of Lake Superior just to get out of my head for awhile. Ahhh, and “Wolves” – the best live performance I have ever experienced. The Zorn Arena was packed to the brim, the energy in the room tickled the tiny hairs on my spine, and each person was echoing “what might’ve been lost…” If you were there, you know what I mean. If I shut my eyes when I hear “For Emma” I can picture good friends around me lounging on couches with a steaming mug of Racy’s blend in hand. “Lisbon, OH” is swinging with Jenna in our secret park late at night. “Hazleton” is climbing through Kyle’s window and “Wash” makes me think of sitting on his roof into the early hours of the morning. “Holocene” is making the trek up to Silvermine to catch the sunset over Eau Claire. “Beth/Rest” is now – falling in love again; new hope for what my future holds.

I won’t go on and on, but I just want you all to know that I miss you. I can’t sleep because I miss you so much. I’m excited for an awesome summer of bonfires in Marty’s field, hookah in Al’s garage, Phoenix Park SLS concerts, cliff jumping. long talks at the top of the world, watching the stars from rooftops, late night cruises, frolfing at Mt. Simon, chillin at Little Niagra, loitering at the top of the hospital parking ramp, Duluth beach days, camping out in “NO CAMPING” zones, rollerblading hills that are too big for rollerblading (ehem..Aaron!), Chalkfest, Silvermine sunsets and sunrises, Racy’s, Racy’s, and more Racy’s, drives down our secret road, attempting to learn guitar (yet again), and just spending time with you guys.

 

 

“This my excavation, today is Qumran;

Everything that happens is from now on.”