Letters from London: Bidding farewell to my friends

VTSU Castleton student Jess Emery, center, and her friends Bea, Dylan, Mel, Alysha, and Marcus outside a pub in London.

The rumors are true. 

Studying abroad will alter your life completely and there will be no going back. 

At least that’s what I’m noticing for me anyway. 

This place and these people are unlike anyone or anything I have ever seen before, and I wish to relay that to you in a way that is coherent. 

So let me try. 

Savannah was my first friend I made here in London. We Dm’d on Instagram and she sent me different links of the itineraries for all the trips she had planned. 

She asked me if I had any trips planned and I candidly told her that I was waiting to make friends so I wouldn’t be alone in the plan

ning process. 

We quickly formed an alliance. 

Now I’ve always had an inkling for this one, but being here has really set it in stone. 

I need creative people like how most need water. 

I don’t know if it’s London specific or just a city thing, but I need to be around creative people so bad. 

There are so many characters with so many interesting stories and backgrounds I feel like I would never encounter in Vermont and especially not the small town of Castleton. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have encountered my fair share of gems at school, but being here has introduced me to a whole new world of people. 

Most of the friends I’ve made are writers and filmmakers, which 

has been so cool to be further immersed into that world. My writing has exponentially grown since being surrounded by these people. 

Meg and India both write fantasy, which I find beyond impressive. Their world-building skills are unlike anything I could dream of writing. 

I love when they ask for my opinion on their writing because it feels so out of my element to be critiquing their work. It’s like a fun challenge. 

India also pays for Grammarly Premium, and we all use her account so it’s a friendship of reciprocity. 

She is colorful and brave and opinionated, and I admire her greatly. 

Now Meg and India are relentless Swifties, but we forgive them for that. 

When Taylor Swift’s most recent album came out Meg, India, and our other friend, Melanie, were all in Paris so they woke up at 5 a.m. to have a listen. 

Their dedication is admirable. 

Meg and I are both die hard hand-written note takers, which I think is the root of our connection. 

Marcus and Alysha are both filmmakers and obsessed with themselves and we love them for it. 

They both exude this incredible confidence, and it never comes off as arrogant. 

Marcus is the sweetest. He’s always checking in with all of us and is making sure everyone is having a good time. 

He’s the kind of guy that when he went to Brighton, he brought us each back a small shell from the beach, as a present. 

Alysha also has such a kind heart, not only is she funny and creative but she’s always the first to offer up a shoulder to cry on, or a top to borrow, or to make dinner for everyone before we go out, so we all have plenty of carbs in our system before we brave the night. 

Bea has an eyebrow piercing, which is cool as fuck, and she’s also from Maine, so we’ve already made plans to hang out this summer. 

In these last few weeks, I find myself going to Bea to talk about our melancholic states over parting ways at the end of this term. 

Melanie has been one of my greatest friends here, except she doesn’t hug, which was kind of off putting because all her closest friends are addressed as “Love,” and she ends every call with “Okay bye! I love you.” 

Melanie got a tattoo of the cat she met on campus that I’m not sure even likes her. 

Might I add that I’m not a very timely person (like genuinely at all, it’s one of my greatest flaws) but I can always count on Mel to be just as late as me. 

Plus, the girl is down for anything. 

In fact, later this month we are going to spend a weekend with the English Dave Blow from Bath and his wife. We will be camping and attending a 90s British Pop show. 

I like to think we’re two peas in a pod. 

Dylan and I had a bit of a rocky start to our friendship. 

In truth, I thought he was kind of pretentious and after about four months of being skeptical I realized he’s actually kind of a cool dude. 

But I stand by my younger self by questioning what, as a man, could he possibly have to say about Sylvia Plath? 

But, I was wrong because he is kind and funny and has a fabulous coat collection. 

He introduced me to the world of Techno, which I always liked but not many of my friends back home listen to. 

And he’s always down for a cheeky bev (or three). 

I’ve realized that it’s not this place, but maybe it’s just the people. 

I have had such a wonderful experience with these people and that have shaped my time here to be the best of my life. 

I cannot wait to watch them grow and evolve. 

I am forever blessed to be able to say that I knew them when they were just starting out as writers, artists, poets, and filmmakers. 

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