Well everyone I am officially back home after living in Ireland for 9 months.

I waited a week after my flight back to even begin writing this final blog post to give me time to settle in. I can’t really explain this feeling. Its bizarre. I knew there would be a culture shock, I knew I’d have a huge time difference between my European friends and myself, and I knew I’d be coming home to friends and family that missed me. But none of that prepared me for the conflict I faced internally.

After I got off my flight I immediately went to the beach in an attempt to get some life back in me. I was so pale everyone I’d seen after the first two days of my arrival thought I was ill, luckily Florida beaches are the cure to my problem and man, I can honestly say I’ll never take this weather for granted again. Its funny, there are little things about America that I truly missed like the merge lanes, public restrooms in grocery stores, free water at restaurants etc. but there are also so many factors about Europe that I almost can’t stand to live without, like local pubs, high standard food, public transportation, etc.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had. I got to build a home in an entirely different country, and create such deep connections with people. So, having to uproot myself was not an easy task. I was sad ultimately, sad that my journey was coming to an end, but equally excited to start on the new chapter of my life which I believe will be as invigorating as the last. Yes, I had friends and family back home that were excited to see me again, but I also had friends who felt like family that I had to say goodbye to. All of this just left me in a feeling of somberness. Its like listening to a violin play, its so lovely but also carries around a melancholic sound. I had a few American friends who went home the first semester and already knew what I was going through. They gave me warnings but also uplifting words of advice. All of which put me in the best state of preparation for my return to Florida.

I’m trying to put this in to words but its just not that simple. Ultimately I am happy to be back, but I am also looking forward to the day that I return.

I understand how Dorothy feels, to the fullest capacity. Searching for her home but not realizing its with her every step of the way and in the hearts of every friend she makes. I too am trying to get back, but I’m trying to go back to my Oz, Europe. I keep telling myself that if something hurt this much to say goodbye to, then maybe I shouldn’t be saying goodbye, I should be saying “until next time.” I just know somewhere in Europe I’ll build my forever home. I’ve grown so much and I can’t wait to apply that to my life here in the states. Its only positivity going forward. Thank you for reading my blogs these past months, I hope you all get to embark on your own study abroad journeys, its truly life changing.

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