It’s natural to feel homesick whenever you go abroad. I know for sure that whenever I go out of the country with my family, I long to lie down in my bed again, or play with my dog.
When I went to the United Kingdom, I was nervous to see the people my family and I would be staying with.
We were staying with my mom’s former classmate and good friend. I missed the safety of my room, the familiar background of trees that surrounded my house, and my family and friends in the Philippines.
I was surprised when I saw with whom and where my family was staying. They were probably the most joyful people you would ever see, and they lived in a house at the outskirts of London. All of us were hugging and catching up once we saw each other.
Once we arrived in their house, I was surrounded by new and old sights. The house was filled with unfamiliar trinkets like scented candles and carpet floors. The pull-out bed where I slept and the trees that surrounded their house reminded me of my house in the Philippines.
Throughout the trip, we visited different places, each having a distinct characteristic.
London was like nothing I’ve ever seen. There were double-decker buses, and the weather was never constant—I probably experienced three types of climate in just one day.
We went to Buckingham Palace, where it was crowded and noisy. Swarms of people were trying to go to the front to take pictures. My family visited West End to watch Lion King. The musical was so beautiful. I was in awe from the people dressed up as animals and the songs.
Of course, no trip abroad is ever complete without pasalubong. Malls in London were big and busy. Everyone was in a rush no matter what.
All the shops were filled to the brim with clothes, books, food, kitchen appliances, and furniture. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be eight more racks or shelves.
On our last day before going to the airport, we went to Dover beach. After a long car ride and the worst carsickness ever, we eventually got to the area.
Yet again, it was crowded. Families were walking around with their kids—most of them marking their territory at the front of the beach. We ended up staying at the very back.
When you go up the stairs from Dover Beach, you’ll find tiny shops. So after eating lunch, we went around these shops which sold swimsuits, sandbox kits, paintings, and books.
After walking around for a while, we stopped at a small arcade. Everything inside the arcade was colorful, being brought to life by kids and competitive adults alike.
My brother and I got busy with one of the machines in the arcade—the claw machine as we wanted to get a stuffed toy for one of my younger cousins back in Manila. Sadly, our attempts were unsuccessful.
Returning to Manila, I reflected on how I thought I would get homesick before going to the UK. How was I not homesick throughout the trip?
The UK became my home for one week. It was filled with what was new and old to me. There were unfamiliar things that I wanted to see, and familiar things like pull-out beds and family that reminded me that home is where the heart is.
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