There are only two weeks, one day and one hour until I leave for London. For those of you who don’t yet know the story, or for those of you who love me enough to read a story you’ve already heard, welcome to the tale of “How-the-heck-I-wound-up-leaving-the-great-(albeit hot)-state-of-Texas-to-go-live-in-London.”

Here’s where the story begins. For just a moment, forget that I’m 21 years old and pretend like I’m 16 again. If you didn’t know me then, I was just coming out of my awkward phase that lasted about three years. It was somewhere between my 16-year-old self beginning dual-credit college classes and getting my first job that a dream appeared in my heart: study abroad in London.

I say it appeared because I swear I didn’t think it up. In fact, I have no earthly idea where the idea came from. And that is how I know it was God-given. Side note: There are people who get what we Christians call a “Thus Sayeth the Lord” (with King James’ pattern of speech and all). But there are others who get a small, quiet (or strong and loud inside) desire to be or do or say something. The big dreams in my heart have been given by God, but they come in the form of quietly knowing what I’m supposed to do – like London.

Fast-forward four years. I’m 20 and now about to enter my junior year of college. After a miraculous turn of events, I begin attending Southern Methodist University. (I did my first two years of college at a community college in Dallas.) I’m majoring in journalism, and I somewhat randomly chose photography as a minor so that I wouldn’t have to stay in school longer than absolutely necessary. My only two criteria when looking for a school was that they have my major and have a study abroad program where I could go to school in England.

In addition to SMU being an absolutely incredible school (have you seen their college rankings recently?!) and the fact that SMU felt as though it was tailored for me, it fit my two criteria perfectly. In fact, until the year I transferred, SMU had only been doing a summer in London program. The semester that I transferred in, they began partnering with the Institute for Study Abroad through Butler University to allow students to select a school in the UK at which to study for a semester or a whole year.

I knew this was perfect for me. I could have my pick of the British Universities: Cambridge, Oxford, City, Westminster, University of London and tons of others. It wasn’t long after transferring that I stopped into the international office at SMU to declare my intentions to go to London. They throughly supported me and have been so helpful along the journey.

So the countdown has begun and so has my little (ahem, long) story.