Semester in London: Walla Walla’s mouse trap effect

Derek Thurber

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There is something alluring and familiar about going to school in Walla Walla, Wash. It is a town of few surprises and many comforts, where friends can run into each other on the street, and stores are easy to find.

At first I was uncertain about the prospect of going to a school in Middle of Nowhere, USA, but in the last few years I have found that the prospect of returning to Whitman’s little corner of the world is a strangely comforting idea.

When I decided to spend a semester in the opposite environment of London and not to return to the comforting Walla Walla this fall I never realized how much that would make a difference to my summer.

It is always exciting to venture to a new place and to learn how to navigate a new city, especially one in a foreign country. Yet, it is somewhat unnatural to prepare for the end of the summer not by packing for school, but instead by packing for a semester abroad. It is as if Walla Walla snapped down on my mental sensibilities when I first arrived two years ago and now I am stuck like a mouse in a trap yearning for the cheese that is just out of grasp.

And so I pack for a new adventure yearning for something as exciting and comforting as Whitman, knowing that the whole trip will be conducted with the allure of Whitman hanging somewhere in the back of my mind. It is a constant, yet comforting pest.

I embark now on this journey of a lifetime with anxious excitement that is supported by the inherent knowledge that at the other end of this journey no matter how good or bad it turns out there will still be the same Whitman I have come to cherish.

I encourage anyone who reads this to find a similar connection to Whitman and nurture it as a means of comfort even in the toughest or strangest or even happiest of times. I know I will be thinking of all the memories I have made at this school while making new ones during my semester in London.

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