How To: post-study abroad

When I got onto an escalator in the airport last week and realized that no one was telling me to keep to the right, I had two thoughts.

1. I can stand in the middle of the escalator step and no one will get mad at me holy crap I’m totally gonna commandeer this escalator step MY ESCALATOR STEP MINE AHAHAHA NONE SHALL PASS.

2. I’m not in the UK anymore.

After 4.5 months of London-living, I was back. In the United States of sunlight and strangers who actually talk to you in public. Even LAX seemed happy to have me back—I told the customs officer that I was carrying three boxes of Scottish shortbread in my suitcase, and he didn’t even search me for alcohol.

People have been telling me that soon, the depression will set in, and there’s such thing as reverse culture shock. But honestly, I think my experience on the escalator was the only reverse culture shock I’ve had so far. That, and the taste of the Doritos Locos taco I inhaled the minute I left the airport.

I think part of that is that I’ve missed Los Angeles. A lot. It’s been my adopted home for three years, ever since I left Colorado for college, and even though it’s one of the weirdest places I’ve ever been, I love it. Of course I was sad to leave London—my adopted home of this semester—and I miss it when I think too hard about it. So I try not to think too much. Which isn’t that difficult. For me.

It feels strange to be back to my old routine where I can’t use the Tube to get around and subsequently am not rubbing up against people I’ve never met on a daily basis. It’s even stranger to not have to convert currency in my head when I’m paying for my tacos. I’ve really missed tacos.

But I think the weirdest part about returning to the States after living in the UK is the fact that I think I have actually, legitimately lost the ability to discern between an American accent and a British one.

They both sound normal to me now. I don’t think about it when I hear a British accent on TV or in a movie. It doesn’t sound different to me anymore. I have to think about it. And, as we’ve already established, thinking is a dangerous pastime for me.

So my brain is either in denial or it’s full-throttle coping. It also might be a side-effect of the cab ride that I took to Heathrow Airport on my last day in London; the cabbie made sure to take the most breathtaking route possible, passing through central London along the north side of the Thames to show me all of the beautiful sites I was leaving behind. I almost started crying in the cab. Stupid, douchebag cabbie.

But from here on out, there’s nothing but adventures to be had. It’s crazy that it’s over, but it was a ride and a half, and I am blessed to the max. It couldn’t have been a better experience.

So now that I’m in the post-study abroad, here is my summer plan. Starting in June, I’m going to be interning at a wonderful establishment called SoulPancake, also known as the people behind Kid President and the strangers in a ball-pit video and the gigantic headphones video and a ton of other awesome things. SP was co-founded by Rainn Wilson (yeah, that’s Dwight from The Office) and they’re into art and talking about life in ways that can sometimes make people shy away. I’m ecstatic to be part of the team, as this has been a dream of mine for a while now.

Apparently, my awesome pro-Batman cover letter paid off.

Here are a few of my favorite SoulPancake videos:

The Flipside // Unexpected Visitor feat. John Ross Bowie

Metaphysical Milkshake // Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Rainn Wilson

Art Attack // Wonder

My Last Days // Meet Shane Burcaw

And I know I haven’t talked about this in a while, but I am still hard at work on Privateer Draft 2, and hope to have it finished up by the end of June. Then… a third draft may be in order. It sort of makes my soul hurt. I think I’ll write a separate post about how much revision makes my soul hurt. I just decided that. Yes. It is law.

Also, as is tradition, I’ve posted my Summer 2013 Reading List under the Shelf tab! Check it out, suggest the things, warn me away from the things, watch me disregard the things and do it anyway. Please.

Samantha Chaffin

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4 thoughts on “How To: post-study abroad

  1. deshipley says:

    Lost the ability to discern between American and British accents???
    I can’t discern whether that’s a win or a tragedy.
    Ah well, if that’s the cost of London…

    Memo to self: Watch all these videos, because they’re by the people who did the Strangers in a Ball-Pit thing, and that’s video clout, right there.

    Now, then, these summer plans o’ yours: Where does having me commandeer your blog to blather about my books come in? ‘Cause I’ve been saving the special, premium-grade blather just for you.

  2. Laina Van Wingerden says:

    SAMANTHA!!! Can’t believe you’re back 🙂 Gah.. i’m so jealous!!! I may try to force all sorts of info out of you about planning trips, etc. Dad’s kinda sorta promised me a trip anywhere i want for my graduation present. (the hitch being we need some money first… figures because i’m like EUROPE. NOW.) Anyways, glad you made it back safe!!!

    • samchaffin says:

      Oooo how fun! A European adventure of your own? So awesome. Let me know what/where you want to know more about–I’d be happy to babble on about my experiences. Haha p.s. congrats on your graduation, girl!! So exciting! 😀

  3. C.L. says:

    Despite having only ever experienced British culture via BBC and PBS shows/movies, I think I get where you’re coming from regarding the accents sounding familiar. I’ve seen so many episodes of British-based shows that it becomes easier to figure out what they’re saying when the accents become strong.

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