I am sorry that I could not write this sooner, but I did not want my sister to find out I was coming home earlier than planned. I ended up surprising her at dinner before her graduation. Now that I am home in Philly again, I wanted to give some last words and reflections.
I think the hardest part about leaving any semester of college is that the last week is surrounded by stress. You have four or five finals and packing. It consumes so much time, that you do not really have time to be sad until the day you leave. It did not hit me that I am home sitting on my couch watching That’s 70s Show yet. Taking the flight felt like another side trip and I feel like I am returning to Plassey Village in a week.
I learned through this experience that Ireland is a magical place. Yes, the green, flowers and castles make the place look mystical, but it was the feel of Ireland that could pull you in. The people were so welcoming and friendly. Life was simple in most places and people were happy. I realized how materialistic America could be.
Over the past months, we have lived with 8 people in one house, with one frying pan for 8 people, with hot water only at certain intervals and no wifi in our own house! I can admit the first weeks this all freaked me out, but now I would give anything to go back and live with these 8 people in these conditions again.
Of course I will miss the side trips to other countries and the cheese store downtown and the Milk Market and the iced coffee place near Plassey, but I will miss the people I have met the most. We have all met people from different countries and different states, that I would probably have never met unless we all came to Limerick. I mean I cannot stop thinking of all the steps that needed to happen for all these people to be in Limerick at the same time as me. I feel so lucky to have met everyone that was there. Every person has made an impact on my life and I hope that we can all keep in contact and visit each other in the coming years.
Now I won’t get too sappy or sentimental here, but I will leave with you with one of my favorite quotes about travel…
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think anyone who has had the opportunity to travel should take this to heart. While abroad you will see beautiful sights and natural wonders. Everyday will be exciting and new. Then suddenly in the blink of an eye, you are sitting on your couch, staring out at American suburbia, wishing to jet set to Paris on Ryan Air. The important lesson is to not let the beauty you witnessed go to waste. Find the beautiful at home. Continue to grow. Start meeting new people, plan a journey around the States and keep doing things that frighten you.
I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who made this journey possible! First of all, thank you to all my teachers who worked endlessly to make sure my credits and scholarships would follow through. My advisor, Maya, walked to every academic building with me just to help my case in making sure these credits would count. I cannot thank her enough! Also to all my teachers in my program who sent letters on my behalf to the dean proving that these credits should all count. Because of all this, I can graduate on time.
Secondly, I would like to thank my family. They have been my support system through health issues and finances while abroad. I cannot thank them enough for allowing me to go on this journey and helping with finances. They encourage me to travel on the weekends and take chances everyday. My grandparents, parents and my sister especially, thank you for everything you do for me!
Lastly, thank you to everyone I have met in Limerick and other places who I can now call some of my closest friends. Thank you for acting as my family while abroad!
Now I truly lie over the Atlantic Ocean again, and I cannot wait to take on my next adventure…NEW YORK CITY!
Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Enjoy!