Oh my God!! The day is here!
Today, you are leaving for England, and you are nervous, excited, oh, hell, you're bloody terrified. And you don't use "bloody" in your vocabulary yet, as it's not a word you really picked up in London Semester. But you will, even ten years from now as you write yourself a letter on the Little Pink Blog.
You don't call it the Little Pink Blog yet; you just started it last month, as a place to document your stories as you move to England. You're actually moving to England!
It's going to be a crazy year. Crazy-good, crazy-bad. Your students will give you fits, and the management of the school will leave you baffled. But you will fall in love with Burnham-on-Crouch, with the whole country. It's going to be hard to leave...and yes, you're going to leave.
You see, you're going to find that adventure is grand, but there's no place like home...and it's going to take a while to determine where this "home" is, exactly. You're going to Washington next year--yes, I said Washington--and that, too, will be a fun adventure. And then you're going to land back in California. Sorry, hon, I know you said you will never come back, that you are sooo over California...but you will be back. And guess what? You're going to fall in love with your home state, and come to find that it's exactly where you're meant to be.
This year, in England, you're not going to meet the British man of your dreams (but you will meet Kevin Spacey and make him chuckle, so dine out on that for a while!). You'll kiss a boy or two, you'll make some nice friends. You'll see Ireland, Paris, the D-Day beaches. You'll finally visit York, as you intended to on Spring Break in 1999. It's nice.
And you will agonize over your decision to stay or go. Burnham will beg you to stay, with its calming river and it's quaint streets, with your adorable (and, sadly, married) colleague and the familiar, lovely places that will become your favorites. It will break your heart, a little, to leave this town that hasn't quite caught up with modern England. It will break your heart to fly away from London, even though you'll be excited to explore a new part of the world in Washington.
This year in England is really where your adult life is going to begin, Young Meg. You're going to learn a lot about yourself, and you're going to take that knowledge with you through the ups and downs of the next ten years. You're going to have some failures...it's inevitable. And you're going to have some successes. I guarantee you, the Meg who boards a London-bound 747 today is not the same Meg who is writing this letter ten years later.
(And guess what, girl? You look fabulous in ten years.)
I know it's odd to you, to think that eventually you'll be back in California. To think that you'll get that high school choir job...and hate it. Then later, get another high school choir job, and know it's exactly where you're meant to be. It's weird, but you're going to become a runner. A runner! You're going to try running one night in Burnham, but it's not going to last long. And then, ten years from now, you'll be a 10K finisher, a regular runner, with muscles and good eating habits. Life is strange, Young Meg. Life is very strange.
And don't worry, Millie's going to be okay. She'll miss you, and some days, you'll sob into your pillow, wishing you could just cuddle her, and not one of the wonderful cats your landlady has on hand. But Millie is fine, and when you see her again, she'll pout a little, but then be so happy her mama is home, she won't leave you alone. You won't leave her again, and ten years from today, she's a happy, feisty old lady, almost 15 years old.
Your parents will never stop telling people that their daughter taught in England, and neither will you. New friends will be intrigued, potential employers will be impressed. It shows that you are willing to take big chances, that you are not satisfied with the status quo, you want to better yourself at every opportunity. I know, though, that right at this moment, you're wondering just how you'll survive all this craziness. You'll survive, hon. More than survive.
Go load your suitcases in the car, Young Meg, and give Millie a last tearful cuddle. Yes, it hurts to leave, but you've got a life to live, an adventure to have. A Wild and Absolutely True Adventure, and it's going to shape your world view forever. Great things are coming, Young Meg.
Just get on that airplane.
You...in ten years.