I hate it when I wake up and it's May.
Well, actually, I don't, but I have every reason to be slightly alarmed at the sneak-attack of this particular May. All the papers, reading, and studying ("revising") to which I said, "oh, whatever, it can wait til May"...waited til May. May is now here. Ever since I woke to the cold, damp, grey English day this morning and realized it was the month where stuff actually happens, everything has become a countdown. I have one 2,500-word essay for Writing the Caribbean, one portfolio with self-reflective essay and pieces from two different genres of writing for Creative Writing B (both due May 7--six days from now), and one final exam for which to revise for Nineteenth Century Writing on May 14 (thirteen days from now). Also, slightly more daunting is the fact that I leave Limes Court, York, and England on May 24 (twenty-three days from now).
I haven't gotten very far on my essay. I haven't finished the short story for my portfolio. I haven't been to London. I haven't been to Scotland. I haven't been to Wales. I haven't been to France and practiced my abysmal knowledge of French. I haven't walked the city walls. I haven't figured out what the heck Clifford's Tower is. I haven't been on a winning pub quiz team, as hard as we may try and as laughable as our efforts may be. I haven't walked by the river enough. I haven't taken enough pictures. I haven't hung out with people enough. I haven't gone on enough coffee dates. I haven't had time to realize that it feels like I've been here forever and I'll just keep on being here and everything will still be the same. I've been here too long to realize that it feels like I just got here last week.
But I have been to Spain, Italy, and Ireland (with both fun, fantastic Hope friends and with my dad). I have met fantastic people. I have had picnics in the park and met for coffee. I have wandered down the streets and made fun of the tourists. I have established a routine that makes me feel comfortable and at home.
However, that routine is about to be shaken up by May. I have 7,500 words to write and an exam to take shortly thereafter. I have things to do and people to see. I have pictures to take. I have a life to live. I have stories to rack up so I can tell them later.
I have twenty-three days to finish being a student abroad. In twenty-three days, that part of my identity will change, and I'll be merely a former study abroad student. I'll be an American on American soil again; one of many. I'll be living a different sort of adventure -- adventuring through a final year of undergraduate study and figuring out what in this big wide world to do with my life, like many other final-year students. In twenty-three days, I'll be home and thinking of here instead of here and thinking of home.
In twenty-three days, these essays, these final days, and this semester will all be a memory.