2012: A Little Bit Of England...

I've been on a several trips over the last nine months but something very special set this trip apart from the rest of the list. Making the decision to go back to England for a week did not take much thought. Meeting new family members, re-connecting with friends and making the most of being back in my hometown of Bilston, UK. Sure, I took back my hometown glory, Bilstonian!

Embarking on my journey to become a 'Passenger Services Agent' for Virgin Atlantic Airways at Newark's Liberty International Airport, I knew two very important births would soon happen! Born eleven weeks between each other are my new baby cousins, Poppy Willow came first then she was followed by Micky Boy. I can remember the days that they were both born, so when I met them for the first time on the 26th of October 2012, it was a very special moment. Honestly, these babies are so beautiful, words cannot describe how precious they are. You could definitely say that they are the perfect new additions to my family. Meeting these babies had to be one of the highlights of my visit. Not forgetting my other cousin Indigo Nemo, he's almost five and it was amazing to see how much he had changed whilst I was away. It was official that I had become a new cousin twice over, I love those babies!

Landing back onto British soil I demanded that we had Major's chips for lunch the day after I arrived from Newark, NJ! As much as I love my American life I remain defiant that some of those home comforts cannot be replicated on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Had I been on a diet during those nine months away working in Brick City? I have definitely lost a lot of weight since I left for Newark, NJ but whatever my family say about my slimline look I know look good! The reality of being back home had not sunk in for the first 24 hours but I needed to snap out of that daze because I would leaving from America at the end of the week! Seeing my two new cousins for the first time had to one of the main highlights from my homecoming week! Had I just travelled as an Upper Class passenger on my London bound Virgin Atlantic flight? Yes, I truly felt like a superstar as I enjoyed my flat-bed seat and my gourmet airplane food that was served with lots of red wine! Fly high, fly high!

My trip home was something of a whirlwind as I only had limited time to accomplish all I wanted to do. I had to reschedule meetings with friends to January as that's when I return home for good. There was one engagement that I really wanted to fulfil, for this meeting was with my dear friends that make the CDC. Formerly known as the 'Christian Drama Club' we are a small drama group where I'm lucky enough to have found six solid friendships that will last a lifetime. Five out of seven of us met in Birmingham for a lovely day out, we went for something to eat, shopped in the city and to end our memorable day we enjoyed a coffee inside the Bullring at Forever 21. Being back in Birmingham for that day was very surreal as it almost feels like my American life has just become the norm, but I'll be living the student life in Birmingham soon! Will CDC make a comeback? I hope that we can reunite for a show or two! Maybe?

So, whilst I enjoyed my midland week of surprises disaster struck, Hurricane Sandy blighted the North East coast of America. As Newark is my home for now I was very worried that my flight would be cancelled and that my friends in New Jersey would be put at risk. It was a double edged sword, I was glad I was home safe with my family but I wanted to know my friends in New Jersey would be safe. It was mad to see New York City being battered by Hurricane Sandy because I have a lot of love for that city! The news channels and internet kept me informed when my friends lost access to Facebook, yes social networking sites actually has actually got a worthy purpose during a time like this one. One other thing was that it was very strange not to see my friends from the airport for a whole week. I had been in constant contact with them since February, so I really missed my Virgin Clubhouse sisters! Although, Newark life seemed far away but Bilston was felt lovely for that brief moment!

To top off the whirlwind week back home in Bilston, me and my mum went to London to see Mamma Mia! The Musical at the Novello Theatre, it was great a great show! Embarking on our London day trip was an early birthday present as I will be away in November for my 22nd birthday. It was a lovely surprise and a super day all round, we made it to the waters of the River Thames where I took some striking photos of London's Tower Bridge. Being back in London made it feel real as I had been working at Newark Airport within Virgin Atlantic's ground operation for their London Heathrow bound flights, now I could say that I recently been to the flights final destination! After our Mamma Mia theatre experience me and my mum went for a lovely Chinese meal within London's vibrant Chinatown, it felt a lot less 'Downtown' compared to NYC's Chinatown! My homecoming week in Bilston was truly amazing! London was lovely! Yes!

From my Upper Class arrival to meeting my new baby cousins I would say that this week was worth every second that I had missed home during my work placement! I had this vision before coming to America thing time around that these big cities like New York City is where the 'Beautiful People' exist, but this trip made me realise the most important people to me are right where I left them in Bilston. Departing again for Newark, NJ wasn't easy but I had booked a birthday trip to Montreal within French Canada's Quebec province for my upcoming 22nd birthday, I had to get back to Newark's Ironbound to continue my final three months of my work placement. Bilston had been everything I had wanted to be, I had never know that former industrial town to make such a great holiday destination?! Before I now I'll be home before my return to university in Birmingham but Newark, NJ requires my present for a little bit longer. Oh Bilston, thank you for being my hometown glory!

Back To Bilston! 

Joseph Harrison

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