La Habana. Havanna. Havana. La Havana. L'avana. Hawana.

After a few days of reflection, I still don't have the words to describe Havana or my experience there just yet. In sharing photos with friends afterwards, the closest I have come to is saying that it feels like you are stuck in a film set depicting the 1950s-1960s — it's fascinating. The streets are busy, with people sitting outside their doorsteps. The parks are filled with people looking down at their devices, trying to connect to WiFi for an hour, a full display of the oppression Cubans face in accessing the world's information. And the roads, well, you know: they're filled with classic cars that don't have seatbelts.

And as such, Havana is a charming, intriguing and weird place, truly unlike any other place I have been. I'll be sharing more over the next weeks, once I can better and more thoughtfully articulate the moments we experienced, the things we saw and the week we had there. Perhaps the best way to describe Cuba is this, though:: "That’s how it is in Cuba today, a stunning tropical island that constantly presents American visitors with contrasts, contradictions and plenty of mystery."

As President Obama said in 2014 about Cuba, "We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result." Thanks, Obama, for taking steps to achieve progress in U.S.-Cuba relations and life for the Cuban people.

The time is right

25 years and my life is still trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination.

Primrose Hill, London

Primrose Hill, London

London, you have taken my breath away so many times and given me so much life. You have made me grow and made me laugh and you will always be such a big part of who I am.

When one important chapter of my life closes, all I know to do is to reminisce and smile at all the memories that were made, the new friendships that were formed and the struggles that were overcome. I also usually write about what happened and why it meant so much to me. But, when I tried last night, I just honestly did not know what to say. I am left speechless. Words seemed to diminish everything I was trying say. After spending a lot of time thinking about how to express what I feel, I think there are two main takeaways.

As I have told many of my family and friends who have asked, I am ready to leave London. The time is right. I will miss London and I am, in no means, tired of this place. Instead, it is time to keep chasing the next dreams, keep climbing and to experience the next adventures that lie ahead. It is time to pour my whole heart into what comes next. This is especially true given where I am in my life.

And London would not have been this special without all the love that people have shown around me. I honestly still have no words to express how thankful I am for and how welcomed I felt by everyone, including anyone on the GW England (QMUL) program and my flatmates, as well as others I met in classes and around Europe. We shared so much happiness and magic and I will always remember that. And, of course, to anyone who followed along in the journey on Snapchat, seriously, thank you so, so much for letting me do that and for watching.

There are so many people that shaped this experience, including many outside of London, like Brianna Farrell in Madrid or Christina Giordano and Rachel Davidson in Paris, more than could be listed, but the names in the groups I shared:

GW England:
Amanda Dilena, Ana Deros, Benjamin Gibbons, Caitlin Hendee, David Clemens, Emily Carlin, Emma Franklin, Jocelyn Jacoby, Katrina Damschroder, Kelvin Liang, Kirby Dzurny, Laura McKenna, Sofie Klotz

Conchur Woods, Conor Rounds, Ell Roberts, Emily Chamberlain, Heather McCrum, Kathy Moran, Maika Mendoza, Sophie Maehle

Alex Klapper, Cheyenne Marani, Dalal Al Hamad, Duncan Williams, Ellen Yuan, Ian Thomas, Melissa Aziz, Neil Davis, Romy Leung

The time is right. And I will be back. I am content knowing that I fully lived every second given to me here in Europe and I cannot be more satisfied at my Study Abroad experience. I am so, so happy and I think that is the best way to go onwards.