What Goes Up Must Come Down
After having a great few weeks, this last one has been just miserable.
Last Tuesday I went to Newcastle with two of my friends, one from IFSA and another from Germany. We caught a couple buses into the town in the early morning (around 10am, but for me, that is quite early) and made our way to the Bloody Bridge trailhead. From there, we went down to the water (the Irish Sea) and took some pictures to warm up our cameras. After spending about 20 minutes down there, we decided it was time to head up to the Mourne Wall. Getting back into the “hiking-groove” was very fun. As many of you know, hiking is a big part of my life. The trail was very well maintained in most parts, and was actually a gravel road at one point. Towards the top, the trail became mucky and you were forced to watch your step if you wanted to stay dry. The hike up took around three hours because we stopped to take tons of pictures along the way. We only spent maybe ten minutes at the wall itself because it was extremely windy. We made pretty good time back down, and once we got back to the start, we waited for a bus back into town. When we got back into Newcastle, we realized that we had two or three hours to kill before the last bus left for Belfast so we decided to walk around for a bit. The small town was pretty neat. It was located right on water and had tons of little shops to explore. We stopped to eat at this little Italian restaurant before we went home. We could not have picked a better day to go given the time of year. The weather was beautiful and there were hardly any “speedbumps” along the way.
That was one of the last overall good days I have had this past week. Since then, I have been pretty ill with a strong cold/light flu. I have not left my room much except to get food from the shop and to go to class. I have done more sleeping than socializing, which is rare because I am usually in the kitchen/lounge hanging out with everybody else. I also opted out of going to Dublin with the other Americans from IFSA. I thought it would be in the best interest of everybody if I stayed home. Unfortunately, I do not feel any better than I did on Friday so I probably would have been okay to go. It sucks seeing peoples’ pictures because it looks like they all had a great time. To add to this, I have two essays due this week as well. I fully accept responsibility for my procrastination – I have known about these papers for some time now, I just chose not to start until this weekend. It is not over after this week though; I have another essay due the following Wednesday.
One thing that is strange is that I am more homesick now than I have been at any other point during my stay. I understand that there is a “honeymoon phase” and that once that is over, you fall into a slump and then you get back on your normal path. But I have been experiencing a different kind of slump. My worst case of homesickness is coming now, two months into my journey when it should have been over ages ago. I blame part of it on technology and part of it on the quickly approaching Thanksgiving. Facebook, Snapchat, Skype, and email allow for me to stay in close contact with friends and family back home. This is great, except when it is making me miss them. Which is a lot of time. Also, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This will be the first Thanksgiving without my family. It is hard to explain to non-Americans why this is so difficult. There is no way to put into words how much family is a part of Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I have bonded with the members of my floor to the point that they are working together to create a flat family Thanksgiving for me. My mom has also played a huge role in making this happen by providing us with materials and recipes, which only makes me miss her more.
To sum all this up, this past week has been my worst week here thus far. Newcastle and the Mourne Wall were great, but everything since then has been miserable. I am not afraid to admit that I miss my friends, my family, my dog, and my home. 33 days until I get to see all these beautiful things again.