01 November 2020

Fortune Favors the Bold

I rode my first train in England when I was 21. Led by our British native professor, a group of us English majors ventured across the pond to experience the ultimate literary tour around London in 2005. I held one of Charles Dickens’ actual quill pens. I gaped at the Globe Theatre that was rebuilt near where Shakespeare’s plays entertained in the original. I was shocked to see the ancient Rosetta Stone defaced with "Captured in Egypt by the British Army - 1801" at the British Museum. And I swooned in Keats’ Regency home filled with his story. It was my first real adventure. My first adventure away from North America. 

We had a free day where everyone pursued their own Anglophile interests, and when a classmate said he organized a trip to Thomas Hardy Country (known as Dorchester), I asked to tag along — a completely irregular question for my shy introverted college self. I’m not necessarily a Hardy fan like I am of Austen, but I wanted the England away from the city crowds, and I knew I would not have gone on my own at that point in my life.

It was that same train ride southwest where every sheep-dappled field and every moody cloud snatched my soul and refused to release. I was enchanted. It’s a difficult gut level feeling to explain when you feel at home. I had never really felt it before, especially in a place I had never been before. I moved often, involuntarily and some voluntarily, since I was a baby. There were different coastlines, cities, and towns, and home is, of course, where you make it. But this reached beyond present moment. I hadn’t believed in past lives until that train ride. I still don’t know if I do. That homesick nostalgia I felt preoccupied everything that day. Little did I know that 15 years later, the United Kingdom would permanently become my story. On a different adventure after a major life change, I would come to meet the person who feels like home in every sense of the word.