Ryan Chartrand

Those three small words. some people wait their whole lives to hear them. Well, I wasn’t going to sit around and wait, I was going to MAKE it happen. In September, I packed up all my clothes and shoes, well, actually about an eighth of my clothes and a barely-even-registers-as-a-number fraction of my shoes (there is a weight limit for luggage on planes) and headed toward London, England in pursuit of my destiny.

I realized my dreams would never be fulfilled if I pal’d around with other Americans, so although Cal Poly offers an excellent study in London program, I decided I needed to look elsewhere. I found exactly what I wanted in the SUNY Brockport study abroad program. This program was going to allow me to live on campus in the dorms of a British University and interact with students from England.

Within the first few weeks I felt I was well on my way to hearing the hoped-for phrase. I made lots of friends (whoever said the British were reserved and unfriendly must have not understood sarcasm) and had even made a trip to Buckingham Palace in hopes of catching just one glimpse of my future. But alas, it seemed there were no royals on site and my dreams of hearing the anticipated three-word phrase in the first week were dashed. Still, I kept my spirits high.

I realized the best plan of attack was to throw myself into university life; Brunel University life. Ahhh, good old Brunel University in West “London.” Of course, quotes are used for theoretical purposes and the amazing city of London is hardly theoretical, but saying that Brunel is located in London is a slight stretch of the imagination.

Because we live in a state with poor public transportation, allow me to very quickly educate you on the complex workings of what New Yorkers call the subway, Parisians refer to as the metro, and what I have become so fond of following the Brits in the last five months, in labelling the tube.

There are six zones on the tube; everything in zone one is considered central London. This is the area where everything you think of when you think about London is located: Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Parliament, the London Eye (a must-do if you ever visit), and my two favorite places, Buckingham Palace and Oxford Street, home to what I believe is the best shopping in the world!

After zone one is, you guessed it, zone two, which expands to the east and west. The zones go in both directions to zone six, and at the very end of zone six west bound is a wonderful town, I have become fond of, called Uxbridge. In this town lies Brunel University.

It would be a lie if I didn’t admit I was a little disappointed, when I first arrived and realized that although technically living in London, it would actually take a good forty minutes to get to zone one. I realized quickly though was how fortunate I was! Because I was so far away (well not that far for us Southern Californians who consider forty minutes a quick trip down the 101, but quite a trek for Londoners who don’t own cars) I was really able to get involved in university life. I have gotten to be a freshman, or fresher as the British call it, all over again.

While waiting patiently to hear my three words, I have been able to fall in love a million times over! Of course, I have fallen in love with London shopping, but that has always been at the top of my favorite things list. I have re-established my love for theater after landing the lead role in Brunel’s fall musical, “City of Angels.” As implied by the title, it takes place in Los Angeles, so my accent actually helped me. I have just been cast as a lead in the spring musical and cannot believe my luck! I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to participate in these wonderful productions.

I have made some of the most amazing friends I know I will not want to leave in June. I have also fallen in love with dancing the night away. Brunel has three bars (I am employed at one) and a club, the Academy, right on campus. It has been incredibly difficult for me to be away from my amazing Kappa Alpha Theta sisters for so long and to know that I am missing out on all the themed exchanges! However, I have had my fair share of dressing up here, since every Monday at the Academy is a theme night.

So while I wait to hear my little phrase I am still making things in my life happen. The university experience has been unbelievable! I never thought at 21 years old I would be living in the dorms again, recreating my freshman year but with three years college experience.

Fingers crossed and hopes high, within the five months I am here I will hear a handsome, funny, kind, and oh-so-sultry British accented man whisper to me those three small words: “THERE’S PRINCE WILLIAM!” But if not, I will have a whole year full of memories that make me feel like the luckiest princess in the world!

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