On our way back down from Scotland, my friends and I visited the Beatrix Potter's Hilltop Farm and Chatsworth House, the inspiration of Mr. Darcy's Pemberly and also home to the world's largest chicken. (Ask me sometime.) Once you have seen the house and walked the grounds of Chatsworth House, you will truly understand how rich Mr. Darcy was.
After England, I flew to Sweden, then to Japan for a month (hence the mention of daigakumo--or daigaku jagaimo, literally university potato--slices of deep-fried sweet potato dipped in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds) and then back to Sweden and on to America. It has been a very exciting few months for me, and I have not been good at documenting.
I miss England. I miss going to coffee shops to write on my stories and walking past the York Minster every day.
Also, I miss my family. This shouldn't be such a surprise as I have grown up constantly missing people, and I find it quite an ordinary thing. It is my life to be always parted from family, friends, mentors who taught me, teachers who knew me. It's not as terrible as some people think, mind you. I have sacrificed the norms for new experiences, new faces and places and languages. I suppose a good way to explain it is Peter Pan (you will realise in the end that everything comes back to Peter Pan), in Peter and Wendy, Ch.XVI: The Return Home:
"He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be for ever barred."
I, like so many internationals, have a great familiarity with things others would consider exotic--a sure shot when it comes to culture. But I am barred from more common joys, such as seeing my family more than once a year or having best friends within walking distance. There is no melodrama in this. I would not change my life for a million others. I have gained more than I have lost, even if it stings a bit.
I suppose the delight of Peter Pan lies in the tension between the choices--that gorgeous decision that still rings from the bell of childhood. Which does one choose? Can one really choose the one over the other? I am drawn between the two, suspended in this sweet residual limbo, in daring indecision in a world that does not accept hesitation.
Speaking of indecision. I am graduating next year. What am I to do with my life? I would love to write books and live off the profits. Though people tell me that is simply not done. In polite circles or otherwise.
But perhaps I am not as polite as people would like to think...