if you'd have asked me the winter before last - post-spain and swimming in graduate school applications - when i thought i'd be returning to europe, never did i ever dream it would be so soon after my last adventure abroad or for such a significant amount of time.  considering higher education is drastically different in europe from the united states, not to mention the fact that student affairs itself is practically nonexistent abroad, spending time overseas during my graduate career was not on my radar.  i was content knowing i could live vicariously through the adventures of the students that i advise, rest assured that someday i would be back exploring.  someday as in 5 years, maybe 10?  but barely one and a half!? no!

"lol, yes!" says life.  and once again, God's plan has trumped mine and it's back to europe i go for the summer.

leading up to today, i've been nothing but excited; giddy-excited, thrilled-excited, tickled-excited, curious-excited, brave-excited.  just start listing off all the types of excited that humans can feel and i was likely feeling it.  it's been more surreal than anything - ireland was just a dreamy concept of the far-off future.  however, as the one week departure countdown has quickly approached, my confidence is being overcome by a creeping sense of insecurity.  of worry.  it's feeling very real.  my heart aches a little at the thought of once again leaving my family and my friends and my friends-who-are-family behind for two months. i feel as though i have just finally found my way around charleston and my job and relationships here that i'm not quite ready to so abruptly pack up and leave this all so soon.  but i wouldn't be human if i wasn't feelin' some feels, right?  which means it will make this irish summer of mine THAT much more worth it.

i've dreamed of traveling to ireland ever since i was nine years old when discovered my third-grade crush was probably irish - normal third-grade reasoning.  my interest in this quaint little country grew five years later when i was an angsty tweenager and the movie p.s. i love you was released and i was hooked after discovering my third favorite one direction band member niall horan is from ireland.  that is it, i finally admitted to the universe.  ireland and i are meant to have a rendezvous.  aside from my middle school crushes, i have always been drawn to photos and stories of the irish cliffs, castles, and the rolling green hills adorning this land's countryside. i hear stories about the incredible food and the even better people.  i can't wait to make this place my home this summer.

my irish summer represents a stepping stone in the winding path that's leading toward the woman i only dream of some day being; this summer represents independence, a greater sense of intercultural competence, freedom, bravery, strong communication, contentment, my dream professional position - working in an international office at a small private college, learning about and loving all kinds of people.

this is my first time traveling entirely independently.  i won't know anyone in my area or in the entire united kingdom for that matter.  being alone.  being lonely.  both my biggest fears yet my biggest adventures; my greatest wishes for myself during this time of self-discovery.  i like to think i have a fairly concrete understanding of the woman i am becoming.  one personal characteristic i am acutely aware of is the fact that i am an introvert through and through.  this isn't to say i'm not outgoing because oh golly i am, but i am also an alone-time re-fueler.  i am the epitome of alone time refueling.  i like to think that i'm really alright at being alone with myself.  the difference is though - the scary thing about ireland - is that up until now, being alone has always been my choice.  there is always the alternative option of meeting up with my friends out on the town or rounding up the roomies and neighbors for an impromptu get-together.  this summer - at least for a few weeks at first - i will be alone.  and this time, not necessarily by choice (but also kind of indirectly by choice because i did sign up for this after all).

only time will tell.  stay tuned.

and so that is how i'm feeling.  a little insecure.  mostly supa-pumped.  hungry, always hungry.  does it make any sense?  woofta, probably not.  but feelings rarely do make sense, do they?  

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