Daily cups of hot English tea and numerous tweets to my friends in London didn’t add up to enough England for me. When I heard that The 1975, a Manchester band that I follow, were soon to embark on an American tour beginning in Tulsa, I bought tickets in hopes that I could spend an evening forgetting that I was back in the American Midwest.
And for a second, I did. As Matty Healy, the band’s lead singer, tossed about Britishisms in his beautiful, choppy accent, the sound felt warmly familiar to me. Then I startlingly remembered that I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma—that this concert was likely the closest I’d get to England for quite some time.
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A common thread runs throughout my blog posts: dreaming. In my May 6 post, I write, “I experienced a lot of life this semester, though it felt entirely unreal. I’m kind of afraid that it will all feel a dream once I get back home.”
It does, mostly.
I spend most of my days either ignoring the fact that my exciting European excursion has ended (this pastime takes on various forms) or gorging myself on my English favorites—music, tea, pictures, and that. I’ve been back for a month now, but my mind tunes to two radio frequencies: my life in America and my life in London. Any word, image, or song that reminds me of England clicks my brain back to my memory-operated London radio station, and I fog over like a dreary day in London town. My imagination leaves my head and transmits itself back across the pond, having adventures all on its own, and leaving any conversation partners confused at the blank stare presently crossing my face.
If I close my eyes, sometimes I feel like nothing has changed at all. This, from the lyrics of Bastille’s hit “Pompeii” (listen here), which came on my Spotify radio often while I stayed in London and was very popular by the time I made it to Rome (“We hear it ALL THE TIME on the radio,” said my lovely hostess, Mariachiara). The words haunted me throughout my travels; the song’s about so much more, but it reminded me yet again that this experience, this whole semester, may feel like a fancy dream. I didn’t want it to.
But as my friend so recently reminded me, memories are real. I have them with me even though I’m gone, and I am a different person, even if you can’t see it. That said, I’m sorry for my blank looks and my inadequate responses to your well-meaning questions; I’m simply making sure the memories are real.