How are you? It’s been too long! Just over a month, that is, and I miss you already. I’m back in Fort Worth now, and I just wrapped up my first week back at TCU. Although I was excited to settle back into the familiarity of TCU and reunite with those I missed while I was gone, the transition has been even more difficult than I thought it would be. Why did you have to make it so hard to leave?!
I miss everything about you: the friends I made that truly changed my life, the busyness and creative oasis of the Gaiety School, my room in the legendary Aparto Binary Hub, all those sunrise and sunset walks along the Liffey. I miss the craziness of Temple Bar, the bus rides through City Center, getting groceries on Thomas Street, crossing the bridge into Smithfield, the pubs, the countryside, the sheep, the smell of the Guinness Storehouse from my apartment, everything.
Before I went abroad, everyone warned me that I wouldn’t want to leave, and I didn’t believe them. I couldn’t imagine how Dublin would begin to feel like home, or the whirlwind of a life I would create there. Now I realize those people were absolutely right. Getting on my last Ryanair flight out of Dublin Airport is one of the saddest memories I have from the last year. Now, my study abroad adventure almost seems like a strange fever dream. I had this amazing, too-quick experience that no one else I know at home had, and thinking back on it, I struggle to remember all of the details, as though I just woke up and I’m struggling to put the pieces together.
One of my professors in Dublin told me that I will be processing this experience for years. I think it’s safe to say that that’s true. It sounds like such a cliché to say it, but studying abroad really did change my life, and I’m sure I’ll continue to find out just how it did so for years to come. It’s hard to sum it all up right now, but since I got home I’ve been spending a lot of time journaling and trying to think back on my time in Ireland with gratitude rather than mourning all of the things I miss about it. Needless to say, it’s been difficult to move on, but I am trying to stay open to all the positive things the universe has coming my way this semester and beyond. Studying abroad is an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and the lessons I learned will be propelling me forward. I am endlessly grateful for IES Abroad, The Gaiety School of Acting, and everyone who played a part in my experience. They will never know how deeply and positively they affected my life.
All this to say, don’t worry about me. I think that amidst all the beautiful chaos of studying abroad, I forgot how much I missed home. The peaceful walks through campus, my wonderful theatre department, my favorite coffee shops, and my friends and family have all warmly welcomed me back. Although some things have changed while I was gone, it’s still home, and that’s enough for me. It is good to be home.
I hope you’re well, Dublin. I’ll be back as soon as I can be. For now, onward and upward. Save a pint for me.
All the best,
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<p>Hey there! My name is Caroline Norton, and I am a junior at Texas Christian University with a huge passion for theatre! My favorite sweet snack is frosted circus animal cookies, I have never been to Ireland before, and I kind of believe I am a 40-year-old woman trapped inside a 19-year-old's body. I love to bring stories to life whenever I can whether it be through acting, writing, singing, or any other form of artistic expression, and nothing gives me a greater sense of fulfillment than creating something artistic for others to enjoy.</p>