I have been living in England for over 4 years. I remember when I landed here, knowing nothing, but full of thoughts, expectations and mostly questions. I left home with tears in my eyes only for a month to attend an English course in Brighton. I was supposed to live with a family, to go to school every day from 9 to 5, eat whatever they were willing to offer, sleep in a minuscule bed and on top of everything to share the bathroom with some completely strangers. I was not complaining, but it was completely different from the way I used to live at home. Arriving with two big suitcases, they offered me 3 little shelves to put my clothes on. I was sitting in my room, wandering what’s the worth of all these. The course started and after 12 years of studying English plus private weekly lessons, I was barely able to string 2 or 3 sentences. It was nobody’s fault, maybe just mine. I thought I could be admitted in the intermediate group, but I was almost a beginner. One can feel ashamed to acknowledge or to admit that you know nothing when you thought you know everything, but I eventually did. I was taking the bus to go to school every day, at 8,35 I was supposed to be at the bus station and if I were late even for one minute, I had to wait another 20 minutes for the next bus. It was 80% mandatory attendance, I was learning things I was already supposed to know: the price of the public transportation pass; you always need a brolly in the rain land, shoes always have to be comfortable and a thin leather jacket wasn’t enough anymore to prevent me from shivering or from getting a cold. I had to dress properly and everything was fine. I wasn’t going to attend a fashion show; I was going to study, to learn. It took me a while to accept all these and especially to understand their meaning. I was having lunch with my colleagues in the school cantina or in the nearby restaurants. It is funny when I try to remember the faces of my colleagues and teachers, people who stepped into my life, changed it somehow and thou, it seems they have never existed, I vaguely remember their names. I only remember the face of the secretary who brought us the finals’ results. She was a tall, strong woman with a long blond hair and had a wonderful English accent. I am sure she doesn’t remember me as there are hundreds, maybe thousands students who she had to do with. For her it was just another day at the office, while for me it was more than important. She handed me the certificate proving how well or how bad I passed the final exam. I had done well, very well actually.
Every evening at 6 I was getting back at the family I lived with. I am now sorry I didn’t keep in touch with them; I’d like to go and have a coffee with them. Even distant as English people are, they were very nice and willing to make me feel good. I used to have my side of the fridge and every time I looked, I saw the fruits on their shelf and I craved. I don’t usually have lots of fruits, but because their fruits were out of my reach, it seemed to be the tastiest ones. I took 2 or 3 grapes from a bunch and it tasted so good, like the best grapes I’ve ever had. They kept asking me what I’d like to have for dinner, I never requested something in particular, first of all because I was ashamed and secondly because I thought they were just being polite and nothing more. There were evenings when I almost licked my fingers, but sometimes I had to hide the food in a napkin instead of swallowing it. As I was coming from a different culture, with different habits and eating style, it was normal not to like everything. It was my first experience of this kind and I had to conform. I guess I mostly did it. About three weeks later, my mom and my grandmother came to visit me. I had tears in my eyes when I saw them. It was like I just saw someone familiar after 3 years in the army. What a spoiled child I was, wherever I may roam across the world, even for a few days, I just need my mom’s presence. I still remember the hotel on the beach where we had tea and some very tasty cookies.
Memories, memories… this was just the beginning of it. This is how I left home just for a month, thinking to get back as soon as possible. But my life changed in an instant, just by a simple trip to London… I’ll be back tomorrow.
Have a nice day!