It's a strange feeling being the only member of your family in a foreign country. Despite studying abroad last year, I've never really had to experience this.
I mean just look at my posts from last year...so many are titled "Family" or "My Family".
Firstly because I had my cousins who lived in Rome. They were Italian and in some ways different than the Perri's I grew around but they were so much more similar to the American Perri's than you can imagine. As I walked off the plane in Rome, I wasn't alone, my cousin Tony was waiting for me...family was waiting for me.
Second, my parents, sister and brother-in-law came to visit me about half way through as well! I got to show them the places that had become my usual spots, introduce them to the people who had become my best friends, and even got to experience new things in Italy and Rome with them. It was such a meaningful week for me. Despite any bickering or fights we had, we all stepped away from that week (and the week after with just me and my sister) with a greater understanding of each other.
My study abroad experience this year has been very different because I am essentially alone...the only Perri in London, the only Perri in the whole UK. There are good things and bad things that come from this.
It is nice to find myself with no influence of familiarity and little risk of falling into my old habits but the lack of comfort has been weird and is sometimes challenging to navigate through (a more detailed post about my initial struggle to come).
I am beyond sad when I think about leaving this city that has become the love of my life (post about how this happened coming soon!), but I think it will feel strange and amazing to be around my family again...with all of our jokes, smiles, laughs, tears (we are an emotional bunch), even our fights and bad moods.
I know that people say 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone' and I half agree with this, but I think that sometimes it is 100% okay to feel comfortable. If I was in a constant state of feeling uncomfortable then I wouldn't be happy...no one would. Life is about experiencing new things while also appreciating old things.
Flaws and all I am so extremely happy to call myself a Perri (cue teary-eyed parents).