I'm in London.
And a lot of people would kill to be me right now.
I'm spoiled with luxuries like electric stoves and mouse-free living conditions. At home, I have a shower that's easy to operate and a mattress that isn't comprised of metal. When I open my front door at home, no creepy guys try to help me, and I don't have to lock a series of three doors when coming in. My laundry doesn't cost four pounds, and I can easily find mozzarella cheese in the supermarket. My cellphone isn't from the 1980's, and I don't need to take two subways to get to class.
But I didn't come here to live my life exactly as I was.
Experiences are what you make of them. I can easily stay in my room here all day, do nothing, not go out other than to go to class, only eat from Best American Pizza, and waste the five months in London and all the money I spent to do this. Or, I can enjoy it.
I'm not saying I'm going to do something extravagant everyday, because I am living here. There is a lot I can do though, and will do. And it all starts with one simple phrase:
QUIT YOUR BITCHIN'.
Quit your bitching, Kate. Stop complaining about the stove, and the mice, and the shower, and the mattress, and the creeps, and the neighborhood, and the laundry, and the food, and the cellphone, and the transportation. I have a lot that I wanted to do here, and I forgot all about that once I got here and the culture shock hit. I have a great support system here though with all my new friends, and a great support system at home too. There are advisers here to help me, and ways to make the adjustments easier that I've subconsciously ignored for the sake of complaining. The tube actually is pretty easy to figure out. The streets aren't so terribly confusing, and the people (in general) will help you if you ask nicely (and don't sound like you're from New Jersey). Not everybody wants to pickpocket me. Not everybody wants to kidnap or rape me. The bouncer at the door really just wants to check my bag because it's his job, not because he's going to grab my wallet and run like I had thought (in one of my states of heightened paranoia).
Nobody said this would be easy. But just because it's not easy doesn't mean it still can't be the greatest experience of my life. I'm through with this phase. I'm homesick, yes, and I'm still terrified of being lost. But I'm here, and that can't change. All that can change is my attitude, and I'm changing that right now.