Uhm… Bye?

I guess… Bye, USA? For like two years….

It’s 10:38pm US Central Time. I’m leaving tomorrow. Cue weird emotions about moving abroad for two years!

I’ve worked most of the summer (and Target and Ross were awesome!) but I finally became unemployed once again, which is very strange for me as a workaholic. Since I stopped working I’ve been doing a lot of preparatory chores like going to the bank, cleaning out my room so that my aunt can use it to study while I’m gone, and getting more contact lenses for the next year.

Aside from the chores, I’ve also been trying to have some fun. This past weekend I went to Springfield, Missouri to visit some friends. I went to Cider Days, which is an apple cider festival with music, crafts, and such. I enjoyed that quite a lot, especially the Fruit Loops scented candle from Shelly’s Smellies. This candle really is hilarious.

In the evening, I went to the Missouri Food Truck Festival. Once again, there was live music and such, except in lieu of crafts and cider, there were food trucks. I ordered a wonderfully delicious Chicken Tikka Masala Pasty from London Calling. They also have a shop in town that is open Monday-Sunday. Definitely worth stopping by!

Apart from that, we went to a really nice bar. No idea what it was called, but I enjoyed it. I caught up with quite a few people I haven’t seen since high school, so it was somewhat weird, but also very cool.

After I got back from Springfield I had dinner with my sisters who were super ecstatic about their band contest this past weekend. Monday was more relaxed, mostly consisting of errands. Tuesday I had some great food and company at El Caporal in Camdenton, where I went to high school. Their food makes me so happy. Along with Pepperoni Bill’s Pizzeria on the square. I’ve known him since before he opened up shop, and he’s a great guy with a knack for making delicious pizzas!

Wednesday we planned a family photo. You know, because I’m leaving a long time and people might die. I’m not kidding; my grandma has told me too many times that she thinks she’s going to die. But she’s been saying this since before I was born, so you take it with a grain of salt.

Yesterday, my sisters and mom came over so we could do light photos by the lake. They look this this:

SistersUSALight

Today I wrapped everything up, finished packing, watched my sisters perform one more band show and awkwardly said goodbye to people.

It was kind of weird, talking to a good friend and hearing him say, “You’ll have a whole new life next week.” I will, but I guess it’s not so different from that time I moved halfway across the country to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley for four years. Except this time I won’t come home on breaks, and I won’t speak the language, and I have never even visited the school, let alone the country I’ll be in.

I’ll keep you all updated, but I may not be posting much for a while until I settle in to my new home and manage to get the wifi working in hopefully another week. Love you all, and depending on where you live, I may see you in two years, and I may see you in two days. So… Bye, USA?

Cheers!

The View One Year Ago

I remember standing alone of the edge of a cliff and thinking, “Wow… I’m really in Northern Ireland.” The realization crashed into me like the waves crashed into the rocks below me.

One year ago today, I stood with the other international students from Ulster University-Jordanstown. We lined up to take in our first view at Giant’s Causeway.

It was sunny, fairly warm despite the sea’s cool breeze. We walked down the path, poured off of it, and began exploring a bit. I remember standing alone of the edge of a cliff and thinking, “Wow… I’m really in Northern Ireland.” The realization crashed into me like the waves crashed into the rocks below me.

It’s always a shock to actively realize where I am. I first got that feeling on Cannon Hill in Staunton one night after watching a sunset. I felt so at home, but also startled, realizing I was in one of the most unique and charming little towns in the country.

The second time I got it was in Oaxaca, when I was in my host mom’s house listening to the musical language of Spanish, that I could suddenly not speak a word of, and feeling like I left my stomach on the plane. There, it was more of a terrifying realization. Thankfully, once I overcame that first night, I settled in well.

And the third time was Giant’s Causeway, a year ago today. That feeling continued through the day, and it recurred throughout the several months that I studied at Ulster Uni. Something about consciously thinking about my place in the world during those three months was incredibly powerful.

Two Weeks on the Emerald Isle

Thinking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about that gorgeous day in Northern Ireland. So here’s to another year of (mis)adventures, getting lost, and falling down on my rear end (which I did at Giant’s Causeway and most outdoor excursions, because I’m talented)!

Cheers!