Sadly, I haven’t been very good about keeping everyone posted about what I’ve been up to for the last week or so. I have several theories behind why this may be:
I really haven’t been up to much.
I’ve been trying to catch everyone up on my awesome spring break (finally accomplished, by the way).
I’ve been busy sharing memories and sentiments with everyone here as our time dwindles.
I’ve been packing.
This has actually been a dream the whole time. I’ve never been to Ireland, no one’s read any of my blogs, and I’ve discovered the hole in the Matrix just in time to wake up on my trans-Atlantic flight and punch Leonardo DiCaprio in the face for invading my subconscious.
None of that made the least bit of sense and I mixed at least two different movie plots, so let’s just agree that I’m sleep deprived.
The truth is it’s a combination of those things (except packing…that didn’t happen until a few hours ago), but a lot of it also has to do with denial. I keep talking to Mo about stuff we’re planning to do when we get back home, and she keeps referring to home as “real life.” This got me thinking, which all of you know is an extremely dangerous past time of mine, but it’s actually not a bad comparison. The last four months have gone by amazingly fast, and it never really sank in that I was here. Obviously I’ve had an unbelievably great time, but I never had a blinding “Aha!” moment where everything stopped and it hit me that I’m in Ireland. It always seemed way too good to be true and so it couldn’t possibly be real. Now our time is up and it’s back to reality.
At the same time, I don’t think it’s completely fair to call everything about the trip a fantasy. Everyone got a little something different out of it. Some of us built friendships, some adapted to culture, some shopped, some partied, some traveled, and some hiked. Some of us found out Ireland wasn’t everything they thought it would be, and some people found more than they ever thought they could. We all learned about the culture and the economy and correlation between the two, but I’d like to think we all learned more about ourselves in one semester than we would have in four years in Dubuque, which is certainly much more than we would have learned from something that wasn’t real.
And there it is–the real reason I’ve been putting this off. I think I finally had that epiphany I’ve been looking for; I’ve been living my dream for four solid months and I didn’t want to believe that it’s real because dreams can live forever. Writing this post means that it was real and that now it’s all over.
I am very excited to go home. I want to see my family and my friends and carry on with my life, but these were maybe some of the most important months of my life, and I’m sad to see them go.
This will most likely be my last post from Ireland. Anders, Ashley, Danielle, Kelsey, Matt, Mo, and Rob will be leaving around 3am tomorrow morning to get to the airport for their 6am flight to Amsterdam and then Chicago. Libby and I will head out to New York around 10am, and get back to Minneapolis at 6:30pm. We’re spending our last night together getting a pint at Ryan’s, the pub that started it all. It will be sad to see everyone go, but it’s nice knowing that everyone will be on campus next year, and that we had all this time to get to know each other.
After four amazing months and ten different countries it’s time to cram my life back into a couple suitcases and say good-bye.
Later Ireland, it’s been real.