Realizations and Reflections
Other than finishing some papers (yay!), I really didn’t do much of anything this past week because I was sicker than usual. It seems that all of us Americans, myself included, have been in a constant state of coughs and sniffles since we arrived in Cork. I may have narrowed the cause down to the pollution, but then again my frisbee coach told me that being sick all the time was Mother Ireland’s way of telling me I need to drink more. He could have a point.
I did, however, go Christmas shopping on Saturday. Cork is beautiful this time of year. Every building is adorned with twinkle lights, every shop window glowing with holly and ornaments. It instantly put me in a good mood, until I realized that I wasn’t home, with the people I love most during the pre-holiday season. At this point, I have less than three weeks left in Ireland before I go home and it’s this awkward in-between feeling because I am finally comfortable here and I have my friends and my routines and everything, but I’ve also been gone from home since May. So as the countdown is starting to get closer and closer to zero, I start to feel more and more ready to hop on a flight home asap.
But along with having a lazy weekend comes the chance to reflect on my experiences over the past several months. I sort of asked myself what I would have missed out on had I not chosen to study abroad. The biggest adventure foregone would have been the WWOOFing and traveling I did all summer. It changed my entire outlook on myself and what I want my life to look like, and that’s not a small thing. My mom would have never had a reason to visit Ireland and she absolutely loved it here! I wouldn’t have met any of the people I know I will have relationships with long after this whole thing is over, including someone from my school back home! I never would have been this challenged to get out of my own way and out of my own comfort zone. And just knowing that I can is enough to make even the moments when I was cripplingly depressed and homesick, completely worth it. I never would have stood on the edge of Ireland’s northern coast. I never would have walked through gorges and kayaked in a fjord. I never would have known about the Northern Ireland conflict. I would still be a mediocre frisbee player. And had I been at UPS instead of Ireland, there is no telling what things could have gone wrong. There is simply no way for me to know if I would actually have liked being home better than being in Ireland. Sure, I missed my friends a lot, but I’ll see them soon enough. And despite the painful realization I came to this weekend that life back home does indeed carry on when I’m not there, that my friends build stronger relationships with the people who are actually there with them while mine stays stagnant, I have to trust that they miss me nearly as much as I miss them. And like I said, I’ll be home soon enough, no need to rush it.