London Called, I Answered

Today’s post comes from University of Southern California student Tara Bitran, who spent four exciting months in London. Below is an excerpt from Tara’s travel blog, wherein she says a poignant goodbye to London, promising to visit again soon.

img_4261Well, guess it’s time to hang up now. London called, and I indeed answered. It’s been a long four months of spotty connections and some heartfelt moments, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with how this phone call has played out— probably the most fruitful of my life, in fact.



Where did the time go? I remember finally having the chance to write in my journal in Hyde Park after so much time dreaming about doing just that. I remember being crowned Queen of the North in Northern Ireland. I remember racing to make it to our Milan Malpensa flight. I remember the moment my roommate Claudia used her selfie stick to capture our excitement, shock and amazement at finally having arrived at LAX to start our study abroad journeys.

We’re still pretty much the same people (I still have the blonde hair, I promise), but maybe just a little wiser. I’ve said this to my friends: I feel like I’m very different but also more myself than I ever would have realized. Like I’m a more “lived-in” person who can handle getting pick-pocketed and eating bad bratwurst, better at letting loose and soaking up every moment as much as I can.

Because of and in spite of everything that transpired this semester, I am so, so proud to call myself a “South Londoner”, and to have shared this experience with my twelve fellow  Annenberg kids who definitely did not know what we were getting into when we applied to this program last spring. But oh man, did Gail’s Kitchen down the street from ACCENT appreciate our business every morning. I will so miss their scones and cappuccinos!WR9yw9eHIKHL-g_Irym66hKbL1OAObIuI19QI4fE-M5eIMAHlSJkKeFyzlF0BZIUpR8bMQjjh7n1UA=w1920-h1080-no

I feel so at peace, calm and blissful listening to my music and feeling the wind on my face as I walk along the South Bank to and from Borough Market. I get to walk by filming locations from Love Actually, Shakespeare’s Globe, Gabriel’s Wharf, and the British Film Institute (which I of course simply must pop into nearly every time I walk past it). img_2065-1I get to channel my inner Adele in the “Someone Like You” video walking along the side of the river Thames. I relish the fact that this is where I’ve lived for these past four months, this I will never forget. I will be back here in the future with my family and friends and will take them on this beautiful walk. I promise, they will feel the joy I always feel when I make this 30-minute trek at least twice a week.

Thank you all for coming along on this ride with me. I didn’t know what my adventures would entail, how they would change me, how much I would wish they would never end. This is only the beginning of my London tale. I know it’s corny, but it’s true. Thank you to everyone who made this semester possible: my parents, USC, ACCENT, my friends, Borough Market, South Bank, our tour guide Ruth, Europe. Thank you to everyone I know who has helped to shape me and challenge me, I love you, and thank you for being a part of my life.

And thank you, London. Don’t stray too far from the phone. Maybe I’ll pay you a call back in a couple of years.


~Tara Bitran, USC (Tara’s full blog post can be found here)

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