The Return Home

Four months. 15 planes. Two Greyhound buses. 10 states. One summer. 

I can’t believe its over. At the time it feels like forever, but on the journey home it feels like you blinked.

There are so many mixed emotions occurring in my head at the moment. In one way, I want to be back already to see my family, friends and dog. On the other hand, I want the flight to last forever so I don’t have to say goodbye to this incredible experience. 

Although I’m one of the last people to leave the US on the program, it feels as though I will be more emotionally distant from the other J-1 participants I met through the program. It doesn’t make sense, especially as I’ll be closer to them geographically

Then there’s the Americans and the interns I made friends with. Despite not having seen them in a month, at least we were in the same country and, for the most part, the same time zone. By leaving the States, I’m properly leaving them behind, and the time difference won’t make contact easy either. The goodbye a month ago suddenly feels very real.

However, being reunited with my family and friends who I haven’t seen or properly spoken to in four months is amazing. You don’t realise how much you’ve missed them and how lucky you are to have them until you can’t see them easily.

On the plus side, having all these friends across the world means more reason to travel, which means more adventures. So the flight home isn’t really the end. It’s the start of a new adventure. 

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“New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”, LCD Soundsystem

​https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-eohHwsplvY (I included the link as this is one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands- thanks Dad!)

New York City, New York. The city that never sleeps. And its no wonder when there’s so much going on, so many bright lights and millions of people. There’s something for everyone and you cannot get bored!

When people imagine New York, they usually picture Times Square where the iconic ball drop occurs on New Years Eve. Here, you can do all your shopping, eating and get Broadway tickets. We even managed to see Ed Sheeran perform for MTV’s TRL! 

Near Times Square is the Rockefeller Plaza and the Rockefeller building which contains NBC studios as well as Top of the Rock which was so worth doing as the views were absolutely indescribable! 

On our walks around New York City, we saw many famous architectural sites, such as the Empire State Building, 

Madison Square Garden,

The City Centre,


The Flatiron Building, 


The Chrysler Building,


Grand Central Station, 


New York Public Library,


Grand Plaza Hotel,


Columbus Circle,


Blooming dale’s,


And the famous Friends apartment building.


Other places of interest that are a “must-see” in NYC include Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn. Although the most areas which felt safe were Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights along the Fruit Streets!


Another beautiful area of NYC includes Chelsea, the Meatpacking District and Greenwich Village where you are able to walk the High Line which prides themselves on being inclusive for everyone.


Not forgetting the famous Statue of Liberty of course, which you are able to see via a free ferry from Battery Park to Staten Island. 


Also in this area is the World Trade Centre which was so surreal. The atmosphere was so different to the rest of the city. It should have been sad, but it wasn’t. Its so hard to put an emotion to it and I’m sure others that have been would also agree. 


These were just ordinary civilians going about their daily life and all of a sudden it was over. On their birthdays a white rose is placed in their name which, for me anyway, restores some faith in humanity.


Moving on to the more upbeat topic of food. There are so many places to eat in the City, but during our long stay we had our favourites! If you’re a How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) fan then McGee’s is the place to go! It has HIMYM themed cocktails and on “How I Met Your Mother Monday” they serve HIMYM themed food. Its fair to say I was in my element! 


Another favourite was Brooklyn Diner on 43rd Street which served delicious classic American food in an old style diner for reasonable prices, just off Times Square!


However, if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the City, you can escape to the mostly peaceful Central Park for a walk, a picnic or even boat racing. 


You can also see the fountain that inspired the one shown in Friends.


And an Alice in Wonderland Statue,


Or watch Shakespeare in the Park.


Its truly an amazing place because of the vibrancy and diversity, so why did I choose this song as my blog title? Due to the busy and choas atmosphere of the City, it was hard to enjoy these places. Some of the people could be so rude. You were no longer a human being, just another inconvenience in their lives. I didn’t feel as happy here as I did the other places I’d visited. 

That being said, New York City was incredible and I feel very privileged to have been able to explore this part of America, and I wish others did too, just for the cultural experience. Its so unique and is home to some unbelievable venues and events.

Jm The birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll- Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee. Home of many famous names in the history of music. Memphis is most well known is Elvis Presley, however, since coming to this vibrant city, I have learnt about a considerable number of others. 

Firstly, by having a tour around Sun Studios where the major names in blues, and later rock and roll, began. With the first being B.B.King. A great feature of this studio was that anyone could record a record for just $4, which is exactly what 18 year old Elvis did. As the years went on, Sun Studios became home to the famous Million Dollar Quartet and as part of the tour, we were able to stand in the same room and listen to the original “jamming session”. It was surreal. The studio had not changed since Sam Phillips owned it. 

As well as Sun Studios, we visited the Rock and Soul museum which went right back to the 1920s on the cotton farms. It was acknowledged that black workers tended to sing in blues style music, whilst the country style was sung more by white workers. The museum then went through famous blues and country artists through the decades until the two genres were combined in the 1950s and 60s. It was really interesting and informative. 

However, when in Memphis you cannot escape from Elvis Presley, especially as there is a whole memorial dedicated to him at his home in Graceland (at which we spent almost 6 hours at), where you are able to learn all about Elvis Presley’s life. 

It is fair to say he was a very unique individual which is evident from his own sense of design, style and range of automobiles.

As well as being famous for the history of music, Memphis also has a significant amount of present music. To experience this, all you need to do is walk down Beale Street at any point and listen to the music being blasted out from numerous venues. 

Every night is live music night, meaning that there is live entertainment for whatever it is you want to do. You can listen to a band whilst having Guinness at Silky O’Sullivan’s, or rum at the Rum and Boogie Shack, or whilst having food at BB King’s Club or Alfred’s. Wherever you decide to go you can dance, drink, eat or simply listen to these incredible bands play famous blues, jazz and rock and roll.

In addition to hosting live music, Beale Street also hosts events and parades. During our stay we were fortunate enough to experience Memphis Pride, which was great fun as well as amazing to see various communities within the city celebrate together. 

Although known for music, Memphis is also home to the Civil Rights museum where Martin Luther King Jr conducted his speech, the Lansky Brothers clothing which dressed Elvis Presley, and the Peabody Hotel which has trained ducks to parade into the fountain from the top of the hotel at 11am and go back at 5pm. 

Overall, Memphis is definitely worth a visit if you want some fun in a surprisingly safe setting whilst listening to live music and experiencing American history.