Completing the Journey
A few months ago we told introcuduced you to Catherine, who was coming to the end of the Study Abroad experience in Ireland. http://goo.gl/DPW695
Now Catherine is home, and reflecting on her year in Ireland...
I suppose that this will probably my last post, where has the time gone? I hope that writing this will give me some closure for the amazing year. It's actually kind of funny how similar first and last moments are. When you go for a walk, you observe as much as you can, whether it is taking it all in for the first time, trying to not miss a detail, or trying to not forget any of the smallest details. The way the leaves grow, how the sun shines on the flowers, what the car feels like when it runs, what the house looks like, the kitchen and your own bedroom. It is like your whole being is re-assessing everything. I just think that is so strange, that these polar opposites generate a similar vulnerability to the situation at hand.
One of the hardest things for me was to accept the fact that the best year of my life is coming to a close. So much happens in a year and I have made such a transformation on a personal level, it was the best thing I could have done with my life at this time. When you are first preparing to leaving home-home, coming to a new country, a new school, a new family, a completely new life, it is daunting. You're scared and excited but you have no idea what to expect. That innocence, being naive. Looking over it all, it's almost easier to leave it all behind and start fresh than it is to go back. Going home-home means readjusting to everything left behind. You get to meet up with wonderful friends and supportive family again but it can also be difficult.
It almost feels like you're on the run, even if it is only two distinct places (your home country and your new-home country). You have invested years into life at home and you leave all of it, every piece, for a new and completely foreign adventure. Then, time runs out, and the new life that you have worked so hard for and put your all into is a chapter of your book closed. It is just so hard to leave something you are so attached to. I think about it like having a really awesome pet for a year, but then they have to go to a new family. How do you not get attached?
On an emotional level, since I've been home, I've been so busy that I don't really have time to get too emotional and that is good, because otherwise Niagara Falls will pour out of my eyes. It is more the weeks and days leading up to your flight home that haunt you more so than once you are home. I had a really rough time two/three weeks before I was leaving because it hits you like a ton of bricks; one second you have all the time in the world with nothing to worry about and then the next is the reminder of the inevitable, the necessary evil. If I didn't have that visa, I would just go into hiding. :)
Ireland is my home now, will always be. When you leave, a part of you gets left behind, like a remembrance. I love Ireland, I love the people, I love the culture, and I love who I have become because of my experience. I have met so many life-changing people who will never leave my memory. This journey was about finding who you are and what kind of person you are. You learn so much about yourself, if I didn't do this, I don't know where I would be. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Words cannot express what it has done for me.