This post’s translation: “And now we say goodbye to Ireland” (even though the featured image above is London)
It is hard to believe that this time has actually come. I am sitting in my bedroom on my twin bed with the orange duvet cover that spent most of the semester in the drawer under my bed wondering how this time has gone so fast.
I think back to September 13, when I was sitting at Denver International Airport waiting for my plane that would take me to Chicago O’Hare to arrive. First off, I could not imagine sitting on a plane for seven hours from O’Hare to Dublin. Second, I was nervous. I was headed across the Atlantic for three whole months on my own. There was only one other person from Arizona State going over, and I had only ever met him once, and it was basically in passing. This was a huge step for me.
To be honest, for most of college, I did not want to study abroad. My brother studied in Prague during my senior year of high school and absolutely loved it. It gave him a new place to be, new people to be around, and offered him valuable experience for his business degree.
I never felt that many of those parameters fit my experience. I went to an out-of-state university, whereas my brother stayed at Colorado State, in
my hometown. I was surrounded by new people as no one from my school was at ASU, and the only people in my class from the city of Fort Collins were both back in Colorado by the end of the fall 2012 semester, so I was surrounded by new people. Being in the United States is also more advantageous for my degree, as, especially after seeing what journalism is like over here, most journalists work in their own country. One just does not hear American accents on the news over in Europe.
I used those arguments time and time again with my mother and my brother as they tried to convince me to study abroad. I was even more convinced toward my side of the argument, as I entered this semester with 1 credit remaining before graduation and I could have gotten that out of the way last semester with an extra class or this semester with a quarter-long online class.
But, eventually, I was worn down. I give my mother and brother credit. They were persistent. Every time we had a family dinner when I came home to Colorado, the topic of studying abroad came up, and I literally mean EVERY time. I’d push it off, give my excuses and try and win the battle for the day. But, during the Fall 2014 semester, I relented.
I honestly just thought, “Why not? It could be fun. I only have electives to take anyway.”
So, I started looking up programs. Pretty quickly I narrowed the cities I wanted to go to to two cities, Manchester (purely because I am a Manchester United supporter) and Dublin. Dublin seemed like a better program (and it was a bit cheaper) so I signed up. I went through ASU’s and CAPA’s applications and did everything that they asked of me and began to prepare for my trip. I bought my ticket when they said to (definitely wish I had flown Aer Lingus for the US Customs pre-clearance in Dublin on the way home), and after finishing my schooling at ASU and the Cronkite School and working a summer at Café Mexicali in Fort Collins, I went to DIA and began my journey over.
When I boarded my flight in Chicago, I even muttered to myself, “There’s no going back now.” Yeah, I was nervous. What were the people going to be like? Was I going to become great friends with anyone? Would I like my roommate? What would our living situation be like? What was Dublin going to be like? These questions and so many like them rushed through my mind as I sat there on that seven-hour flight. Finally I landed, and began what has turned out to be a wonderful journey!
I have gotten to experience Dublin in so many amazing ways. This part is odd to me to write, because it is similar to one of my final essays for my Global Cities course, but I have really enjoyed getting to experience Dublin by walking around and reading the city using a practice called semiotics, which is where one looks at everything around them to try and learn about a city. They try to learn its history, what it has become, who lives there and more. I have gotten to do that so much here and it has given me such a deeper love for this place.
Perhaps one of the most amazing ways I have gotten to experience Dublin is through the Chapel Group at St. Mark’s Church. I wrote about this before, but this is basically a church group for college students that met weekly to praise God and be a community for each other. I have gotten to meet people from all over the world because of this group and I am seriously going to miss it when I go home.
I have also gotten to experience Dublin with an amazing group of people. I have loved every second I have been in Dublin. I am so thankful that God has surrounded me with some amazing new friends, friends that I hope I will keep in touch with and keep in my for many, many, many, many years to come.
There have been challenges. Being a senior graduating at the end of the semester in another country is hard. There is so little motivation to do work, especially when the classes only meet once a week and don’t normally assign homework between classes. Add on wanting to travel all over Ireland and Europe, and it’s a bad recipe for work. But, I powered through that (somehow) and hopefully will receive all A’s (although I may not know until next May).
There was also Paris. I cannot explain how much I wanted to go home after being in Paris on Nov. 13. That night shook me to my core, and it took good talks from friends (both in Dublin and the US), both of my parents and my girlfriend to get me to calm down and stick it out for the last month. And I have to say, my trip to London the next weekend gave me a sign that said all of those people where right.
I guess I never wrote about London. I definitely meant to, and I still may write a separate post about it, because it was probably my favorite trip, but as I took the Thames Path from Greenwich to Westminster my first full day there, I was greeted in the clouds by a smiley face. That may not sound to many like this profound sign, but as I stood there looking at it, I really felt as if God were saying that I made the right choice to stay in Europe and take the trip to London (which I had strongly debated canceling). From then on, I knew that God had truly blessed this trip for me, and, to go back a couple of paragraphs, Chapel Group was just another sign of that.
And now, here I am having just taken my penultimate class of college and turned in my final assignment. My final class will be tomorrow morning, and my college career will end in the most fantastic way possible. By watching movies. We will be watching Rocky Road to Dublin and The Commitments. I have not seen either of these, so if anyone has any reviews, send them my way! But honestly, I could not think of a better way to end college.
I will begin my journey back to the United States, and to my awesome, large queen-size bed in Fort Collins on Saturday. I get to have the pleasure of spending the night at Heathrow, before boarding a 10.5-hour flight from London to Dallas, and then having a three- or four-hour layover after going through customs in Dallas before I head back to Denver.
I am going to miss Dublin. This place has truly become a part of me. I’m going to miss the people, the accent, my friends, CAPA, and so much more. But, I am at the same time extremely excited to head home. I will love having an oven again, getting to see all of my high school friends, seeing my mom, Christmas, and most important of all (sorry Mom!), I FINALLY will get to see my girlfriend, Julia, when she flies up from Tucson on the 26th to spend New Years with me.
So for now, Dublin, I say farewell. Slán, as it is said in Irish. I hope this is not a good bye, more like a see you later. I hope to walk your streets again one day!
Back to the USA I go!
Coming Soon: A video and photo slideshow highlighting all of the amazing things and people this trip has had in store! Check it out soon!