With Christmas just around the corner, we are almost half way through the academic year which means many of us will be headed home for the holidays soon. While home can be many places for different people, Ellie reflects on a newfound appreciation of home in England.
I have been reflecting a lot on the concept of home. Home for me has always been wherever my family have been, wherever I have felt most comfortable to be myself and where my friends are living. But for the first time after spending five weeks in the southern American state of Louisiana, I experienced a distinctive home sickness, not just for my family and home comforts, but for the country of England itself.
While I was in Louisiana I learnt and understood just how patriotic Americans are: stars and stripes hung from most houses that we drove past and this got me thinking – where are all the British flags hanging in England? I had a discussion with an American friend about how proud and outspoken Americans can often be about their country and how, maybe it’s due to the vast amount of land they have, they have the space to be loud and extravagant about their beliefs because few are watching. England on the other hand have cities with huge populations, resulting in close living environments and maybe that forces us to be quieter and more considerate and aware of our surroundings. But it’s something I’ve grown to appreciate.
As I returned home from Louisiana there was nothing like looking out of that tiny airplane window, peering down at the mixed patchwork of every shade of green and knowing that I was back in England. However, this time I had a new, more profound appreciation for all those green fields and everything that lies amongst them. England to me is calm, polite, easy, modestly and quietly beautiful. Shortly after my return I went to Cornwall for a week with my family. It was during this time that my love for this country and my desire to spend time here exploring more places reawakened.
I think English natives can often be quite hesitant to talk positively about their country, myself being no exception. But there are so many wonderful things about England and its people that make it a popular tourist destination and a temporary home to so many internationals. Our nation may be small but, to me England is home. We are seeing younger British generations becoming more and more outspoken, overriding the stereotypes of the English being reserved. We are becoming more aware and involved in political and social issues in our country and beyond our borders, which is something to be proud of.
Words by Ellie Plumptre