It is my last few days in Ireland and I can hardly believe it. I come home Saturday and will get to see my family and friends for the first time in four long months. There are so many emotions and feelings swirling around in my head that I’m going to take some time to sort through them if you don’t mind.
I want to stay here…
These past four months have been incredible! Admittedly, I was unsure if I would like being away from Michigan for so long when I got here in January, but the Lord provides and turned my heart for the better. I’ve made such a connection with Dublin City and now think of it as my home away from home. I’m going to miss the little bakery I get a sandwich from every Thursday afternoon and the walk down Grafton Street at night… there are so many things that I’ll miss.
But Ireland, in general, has been nothing but wonderful to me, and I’ve seen some of the most amazing sites my eyes have ever beheld while here (let’s think back to the Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, and Giant’s Causeway). I will miss being able to see these sights by just hopping on a train that costs ten euros.
I’ve also learned more about myself than I have anywhere else. I am more confident in who I am and in whom I find my identity, and I want that growth to continue and the changes I’ve implemented in myself to stick. I’m scared they won’t when I go back home. For these reasons, I want to stay here forever…or at least, a few more months. I want the relationships I’ve made with people to continue and thrive in the country of their origin and I don’t want the life I’m living (and currently loving) to change.
…but I want to go home.
As I gushed about previously, Ireland has given me wonderful, enriching experiences. But that isn’t to say that those great experiences haven’t been sprinkled with low points, a few hiccups. Namely, homesickness.
I don’t think I realized how much of a blessing my home, in every essence of the word, is. Home for me is my family, friends, and original surroundings. My family loves and accepts me for who I am – they are the greatest examples of God’s love personified I can think of. That was wholly missed here while I was struggling to put a finger on who I really was, quirks and all. This goes for my friends at Hope, too. They love me deeply and show me grace every single day. I had gotten used to being loved well by people and that was something different that I struggled with.
It was less noticeable at the beginning of the semester, but the past few weeks there would be triggers that made me think, I miss that. I want to go home. The carpet of my living room at home compared to the hardwood floors here. The friendly Hope community compared to the chilliness of Dublin city strangers. My mom’s cooking compared to my buttered noodles every night. (I’ve seriously been eating buttered noodles for dinner for three weeks straight, but that’s another story.) All small things that have been making that twinge of homesickness turn into a spark of excitement to go home.
It’s only four days now until I board that plane. There’s still so much to do – goodbyes to be said, last scones to be eaten, and clothes to be packed. But the next time you’ll hear from me, I’ll be back on American soil – exciting!
(Just so you all know, this is what I’ll be listening to on the plane home. It’s a patriotic song for Ireland, and it already has the power to make me cry whenever I hear it.)
Expect some debriefs about my trip upon my return on what it’s like to be home, why the IES Program was the best, and some of my favorite adventures I had.
Until next time!