A week ago I was ready to leave. The holidays are a natural time to want to be with your family, which makes going home seem normal and easier. But once my finals were finished and I resurfaced from the books, it began to hit me that I only had two days left here in Dublin. You would think the more you move, the more you get used to goodbyes. But when you fall in love with a place, you always leave a little piece of your heart there; you can’t help but feel a little bit emptier leaving.
Most of the time, goodbyes aren’t really goodbyes. You keep in touch with friends through social media and there’s plenty of years ahead to meet up in a different city. But writer Azar Nafisi once said, “You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place…like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”
All cheesiness aside, she gets it. Never again will I be studying in a foreign country, using my youth and cultural inexperience as excuses for my mistakes, and learning valuable lessons along the way. Never again will I be surrounded by people from all over the world, each one just as eager to make new friends and explore a strange city as we pass through. Maybe I’ll return to Dublin some day, maybe we all will, but it will never be quite the same.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would learn much from this experience. Everyone always made studying abroad out to be this life-altering event where you learn so much about yourself and the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and live abroad before, so I didn’t think it would be much different. I never thought I would feel as intimidated as I did moving to a country I’ve never visited before, where I knew no one. I never thought I would get homesick for family and friends. I never thought I could do independent, adult things like book an entire trip on my own. I never thought I would actually crave a cold pint of Guinness. And I never thought that I would actually feel like a different person when I left.
It feels like a lifetime ago that I got to Dublin, unsure of where the university was, of which bus route to take, of who my roommates would be, of what “grand” meant, and of the memories I was about to make. Nevertheless, this semester has flown by. It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least, but I’m sad to see it end.
It’s going to be weird going home, but I didn’t think I would miss Austin as much as I did. I can’t wait to see all of you beautiful people in a few weeks! First stop is Singapore so I can go home with a tan.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who kept up with my global blogging adventures these past six or seven months. Pretty soon I’ll go back to my regular routine of covering concerts and such in Austin.
Cheers Ireland, it’s been grand.