Reflecting and Remembering

Grace McGovern
April 11, 2017

In just four short days, my time studying abroad in Dublin will be over. It is absolutely no exaggeration when people say that your time abroad will fly by, and before you know it you’ll be on that plane home, a suitcase full of souvenirs and wondering whether or not you should feel happy or sad. In an effort to slow things down, I’ve been going over my favorite moments abroad and creating a sort of log. Someday, when years have passed and memories have faded, I will have these snippets of writing, these poems and pictures and videos to hold on to and transport me to this beautiful and liminal time in my life.


What stuck out to me most as I wrote these weren’t the monumental landmarks I saw or the bucket list items I crossed off. I found myself cherishing the little moments I had, with people I love and places that became beautiful to me because of the quiet moments I had in them. They may not look like much on paper, but the memories that flood back from those few sentences are worth more than I could ever put into words.


1) Laying on the beach at Barcelona and looking up at the stars, the ocean crashing around us, feeling impossibly and beautifully small

2) Standing in a crowded, sweaty pub basement and listening to open mike musicians and poets for hours and realizing how important creativity and art is in my life

3) Watching dumb reality shows and music videos with my friend Chloe the night I turned 21, and feeling lucky that I had connections here that would make saying goodbye so hard

4) Stumbling upon an experimental play in London for 15 pounds, and having it end up being the best theatre I’ve ever seen

5) Running to my best friend Maisy at the Prague airport, the entire thing feeling like one huge dream

6) Being completely and utterly awed by the Real Alcazar in Seville, walking around and soaking in the smell of oranges and the feeling of the sun on my back and realizing just how lucky I was to be on the journey that I am

7) Writing in the train on the way to the Writer’s Retreat, and realizing that what I made was beautiful and raw and real


I will hold onto these moments and so many more like flowers under my pillow. These little fragments have made my time here home. They have made this time here sun-soaked and frayed but beautiful. I have found the solace that you can get in these quiet, in-between spaces. So if you’re studying abroad, or if you’re going to a new place, or if you just feel yourself wanting to stop time, write down moments like these. Write them down and cherish them for what they were in the moment, and for what they will continue to bring you in the future.


It’s funny how you can feel nostalgic for something even before you have to say goodbye.

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Grace McGovern

<p>I am a junior English major at Illinois Wesleyan University studying in Dublin, Ireland. I love the rain, which is a good thing, since it never stops here. You can find me sitting in a café reading Sylvia Plath in my down time, as any good English major would. Poetry, the sea, and finding the best ice cream in any given location are just a few of my passions.</p>

2017 Spring
Home University:
Illinois Wesleyan University
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