I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked: “are you excited”, “are you all packed”, or “do you feel ready to go”. But no matter how many times people asked me these questions, I still didn’t feel that I was really leaving! Don’t get me wrong, I am more than excited to spend the next few months making my new home in an amazingly beautiful country, but I think that I first needed to be ok with leaving this home. After the craziness of the holidays, I decided to take time to hang out with my family members 1-on-1 and slowly say bye to the friends I won’t be seeing for a while. A few nights ago, I took my Dad to a really nice Irish pub near our house. We ate tons of amazing food, listened to a live Irish band, and talked about what I most hoped to learn from my time in Dublin. I think that this is the moment it truly hit me that I was about to be on my own for a whole semester, experiencing things that most people my age don’t get the chance to do. I told my Dad that I was most looking forward to meeting new people, and hopefully picking up a bit of that Irish hospitality that people love so much. I have always admired people that take life one day at a time, and really absorb every experience fully. A country full of people who genuinely want to talk and get to know one another seems like a great place to gain a little bit of that attitude towards life. My hope is that every encounter I have (whether with people, historical places, or nature) becomes one that I can fully appreciate and learn from.
Although I definitely consider myself a homebody, I am determined to break out of my comfort zone and push myself a little further than I might usually. I can’t imagine a better place to grow as a person than in a beautiful, magical, and friendly country like Ireland. As scary as it seems right now, I am positive that going abroad will be one of the best decisions of my life. Stepping off the plane and finding my way around a big city will be overwhelming initially, but what I’m about to see and learn will be amazing.
As I stare at my suitcase, slowly becoming overwhelmed with the idea of packing, I’m also becoming more and more excited thinking about what’s in store for me this semester. I can’t wait to start living in a new home, meeting new people, and eating lots of amazing new foods. And I can’t wait to share it all with you! Once I get to Dublin, I plan to start taking tons of pictures so I can tell AND show you everything I'm doing there. I look forward to telling you all about the best food spots, pubs, museums, day trips in Ireland, and all the other amazing places I visit in Europe.
Well, next time you hear from me I’ll be in Dublin… stay tuned!
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<p>Hi! My name is Rachel Marini and I am a Junior at Penn State University. I'm majoring in Elementary Education (with an English focus) and plan to minor in special ed. I am a huge book nerd, but when I'm not reading I like to hang out with my family and friends, go to the beach, and just spend time outdoors. Traveling has always been a big part of my life, because I love exploring new places. Going to Dublin is something that I know I won't regret, and I can't wait to share my experience with all of you!</p>