And with that, my last international trip (before flying home, that is) of 2019 has concluded. I spent most of last week visiting Brendan in Jordan; it was the ultimate way to end a season of travel.
While I was there, I couldn’t help but be envious of the amazing cultural experience his program offered. The language, the food, the landscape: everything was different in a way I felt I was missing from my own experience in Ireland. I had a similar feeling of envy visiting Caylie at Oxford a few weeks back. The campus was beautiful and sits in a quaint, fun town. Their tutorial style classes are unlike anything at Holy Cross. I spent a lot of November feeling like maybe I had made the wrong choice. Ireland doesn’t feel challenging or different. The food is subpar. My classes, while extremely interesting, are not out of the realm of what I could have learned in Worcester.
When I got back from Jordan on Saturday, I realized I had no food. I made the quick walk to Centra, making sure to grab my reusable bag (Irish stores do not provide shopping bags). On my way home, passing by the familiar buildings, I felt of wave of relief. I loved the traveling, but for the next few weeks I am going to be home. And that stuck with me. Cork is home. It doesn’t feel grand or mysterious or foreign- it feels like home. I spent all that time resenting Ireland because it didn’t give me the awe that Italy or Spain or England or Jordan did, but at this point, I don’t think I should be shocked every time I step outside. I am comfortable in Ireland because I’ve settled in. And isn’t that what studying abroad is? Making a home somewhere new? Traveling is exciting, but I wouldn’t want my place of residence to constantly feel like “traveling.” It took this whole month of being away to let that sink in.
On another note, I’ve gotten into this bad habit (ha, who am I kidding, I’ve always had this habit) of being consumed by my season. I hyper focus on the things happening now thinking that their outcome will impact my happiness for all of eternity. I have not TRULY relaxed for weeks; internships for the spring are in the process of decisions and the waiting process has provoked a daily battle between myself and my email. I understand all the logic: there is nothing I can do right now; stressing about it won’t change the outcome; etc. Yet I find myself everyday at 2 PM (9 AM in DC) constantly checking my messages. Just like with my view of Ireland, my perspective needs a change. There is a re-framing that needs to happen around the importance of one position in the scope of my life. At 75, next semester will be one flicker in the beautiful motion picture of my time.
Updates to come on where I end up working next semester! For now, I am going to force myself to the gym or the library each time I think about internships- might as well get something out of this stress, right?