I sure would have missed an experience unavailable in any other context.
I find myself chuckling when reflecting on my initial adrenaline inspired ‘regrets’ anticipating a semester worse than a sister school found within the urban capital of Dublin. Continuously justifying to myself that the classes would be more related to my creative major of Advertising & Graphic Design, my educational cap of reasoning cupped my head maybe a bit too tight. The mere fact that I would be entering an entirely new world, though comforted by the compatibility of English communication, conjured a bipolar stream of emotions altering from fear to excitement in a balance act.
Will I be able to make friends? Will the classes transfer back to Chapman? I feel confident in my bright purple Marmot jacket right?…Right?! Right.
The first day[s] spent traveling to the emerald isle requested my attention for upwards of 48 hours, quickly acquainting me with the frigid cold weather, extreme caffeine of their breakfast tea, different voltage systems(sad day when my iHome lit up to turn on, but began sparking in seconds), and indistinguishable accent(note: I was looking forward to a similar language, but the Irish honestly sound like their speaking another…at least when first arriving), however, after a day of rest in a notably comfortable double bed, I was soon to be introduced to my roommates for the semester.
Robin 59 of Thomond Village did not assemble all at once; Kelly was already in the apartment when I arrived, but Ben, Sofia, Vicky, & Yves all arrived at different intervals. It’s funny to think about my original desire to have ‘Irish roommates’. Boy, am I glad I didn’t~ not to generalize, but to generalize, they are messy, loud, smoking, drunkards who just like to sing and shout. Not to say I haven’t enjoyed being in their vicinity from time to time, but the thought of living with them? Not a chance.
While I honestly can not imagine having attended a more gorgeous school being privileged to peer over the breathtaking Shannon river every morning, pass fields of green along every path, attend lectures in architecturally beautiful and complex buildings, and have access to several Irish restaurants and pubs within each reign of the campus[it’s HUGE], I must say, the aspect of UL that I will miss the most are the people I have become acquainted with.
Individuals that study abroad come back with stories of running to make a 1:10am bus to catch a back breaking flight on RyanAir, hesitantly sampling the ‘delicacy’ of a market merchant, or ‘finding themselves’ along some magical international journey, yet in simple terms, I’ve enjoyed reuniting with my social well being, and being accepted for the dork that I am.
I think what makes our melting pot of nationalities flow so effortlessly is the fact that we’re all dorks and not a day goes by without a heavy dosage of laughter. Stemmed from the coined accents and phrases of said individuals, I don’t think I will ever hear these strings of words without smiling to myself:
‘All the best for your future!’-Yves
‘I think it is not ok’-Ben
‘I can’t believe it!’-Yves
While to a pair of outsider ears these colloquial phrases seem quite ordinary, I will forever remember the unique voice attached to each of the above.
Without making you swear off cheese for the rest of existence, I truly could not have imagined the immense impact and meaning each roommate has imprinted on my heart. Sure I could have said ‘life’, but each day has caused it to skip several beats when acknowledging these developed relationships. I felt like I personally was worth something seeing that my American upbringing suddenly was something of intrigue. I thought I was the one looking for cultural immersion?
Living in one state for twenty years doesn’t really gather worth until others shed an even brighter beam of light on it[& I’m from California!]. Parting ways at this point just shouldn’t be an option. We were fatefully joined as a unit physically, but within only a span of four months, our unit has mentally manifested as well.
Through the continuous banter, playful kickboxing fights, late hour chats, random dance parties, introducing of ‘healthy’ food to these lost lost Europeans, initiating Snapchat wars, taking DJ Ber’s predictable loop of hits at the Stables Club pub on campus, & supporting each other enough to never go to bed angry when disputes did arise, I can confidentially and regretfully begin anticipating the end to this truly wonderful experience.
Cheers to next five days~ this is going to be rough.