19 April 2013

The Dream Dies

I've only been in Britain for a couple of days, but I'm already starting to feel the excitement fade. I feel like crying, reaching out to grab it as it slips away from me in slippery strips. It's frightening to see a dream die like that.

Looking back on the posts I've written here so far, I can sense the passion and joy of a girl who feels rather far away from me. She researched Great Britain within an inch of her life, scanned through thousands of photos, read guidebooks, daydreamed, watched movies, cooked food, all in an attempt to get closer to England.

I don't know what I expected to find when I got here. Maybe I thought I'd see this country in 4D, everything would sparkle, or I'd be in a constant state of high excitement. That was true for about half a day, but now it's faded. I had such huge expectations that there was bound to be some letdown.

It's not that I'm unhappy—far from it—it's just that I'm coming to terms with the fact that Britain is not Heaven. In order to fulfill my lifelong dream, I'm having to let go of the imagined England and grab onto the real thing. There are so many adventures in store for me, so many things I still want to see and do, but some of the magic seems to have gone out of it.

Does that mean I should spend my whole trip here trying to recapture the magic? I don't think so. Back in July 2011 I wrote this after explaining England's pull on my imagination, "I want to find out more about England. I want to actually go there and experience this magnetic mystique for myself. I want to satisfy this inexplicable craving." Perhaps that craving has been satisfied, a little sooner than I expected.

Here is a quote from C.S. Lewis that I feel I must take to heart, and I hope it helps you if you are feeling the same thing:
It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all around them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.
All right then, Jack. Here go the swimming lessons.


  1. This happens to every Anglophile on their first trip. It happened to me. What happens is that your experiences there will start to replace the image of Britain built in your head that you previously had.

    And it's way better.

    Trust me.

    1. Very true! I think I am well and truly out of my funk now, and with a brighter Britain in sight.

  2. Everyone wakes up from a dream. It's what we do while we are awake, the people we choose to be involved with, and the decisions we make that make this life worthy of dreaming about.

  3. Oh, reading this broke my heart :-(
    You have still made your dream come true... That's so much more than some people ever do in their life, even if it isn't quite how you pictured it. You saved, researched, worked hard and you're here! You are experiencing Britain.

    Whilst dreams are lovely, reality is better than a dream because it's real. It's happened. You've experienced it. You still have your dream as a reality. It's under your feet right now and for the next couple of months.

    Britain is small but very diverse. You have so much more time to explore. I can't imagine you won't find something that makes your heart sing as it did in your dreams.
    The Lake District and Edinburgh have never let me down. (Although, even I, born bought up and living here still, was thoroughly surprised to be in Edinburgh for a good half day before I finally came across someone who was Scottish!).
    Don't be too hard on yourself. And let yourself concentrate on the bits you enjoy the most.

    If you need a good old stomp through the english countryside with a good, pretty old pub at the end which serves proper 'British' grub for lunch I know just the place! If you wanna turn the cuppa and sarnie offer into this, co-ordination of itineraries permitting etc etc etc, I'm more than happy to oblige. I have terrible luck weather wise so you'll probably end up with a typically rainy English afternoon too!! :-D

    Much love ❤


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