I have 11 days left in Dublin, and have conformed to new cultural behaviors and attitudes over the past few months. It is hard to believe that I will be returning to my home in the states after an unforgettable first semester experience. However, the return home will reintroduce my old habits, routine, and behaviors, and will, without a doubt, be an interesting transition. I expect the transitions to be both positive and negative.
First, I will need to get acclimated to the time difference and may experience some jet lag. I will definitely be fatigued by the time I return home, and will have to sleep and stay hydrated for the first week after my arrival in order to quickly bounce back to my usual routines and sleep schedule.
Due to my weak cooking skills, having my parents cook for me again will be a blessing. Another positive to returning home will be having the option to drive a car instead of walking everywhere. I have never walked so many daily miles in my life! My only fear of driving a car is the fact that I am now familiar with cars driving on the left side of the street instead of the right, not to mention the fact that it has been a while since I have driven a car. Having to do my own laundry for the first time this semester has been another new experience, as it has helped me become more mature and responsible. I feel like I can return home and have no issue doing my own laundry without shrinking my clothes or accidentally mixing ‘darks’ and ‘lights’ together. Incorporating what I have learned abroad back at home will be a great way to reconnect with my family and friends. I look forward to sharing new hobbies or foods that I have learned to enjoy while in Ireland.
One adjustment will be the decrease in the amount of freedom I will have upon returning home. I have made mistakes while in Dublin due to being completely independent, but have enjoyed making my own decisions. I will have to become used to the rules and regulations that I had before leaving, which will be a minor adjustment. When I finally see my friends that I have not seen for almost four months, I will be extremely excited to discuss my experience in Dublin. However, I will need to be conscientious that individuals might become bored or less interested after hearing multiple stories relating to my time abroad. I will have to control my discussions and shorten them in order to not come across as bragging, since my friends and peers will have also had memorable first semesters in their respective colleges or universities, as well as grown and changed as much as I have. It will be wise to listen as much as I speak.
Lastly, I will be able to appreciate more what I had prior to leaving, such as loving and supportive parents, a sister who I look up to and am highly influenced by, close friends, my comfortable bed, and snacks and food always being available in the house. After being away for a semester, I deeply understand that I need these people and things in my life in order to survive. I will want to let these people know how much they have impacted me by showing appreciation to them upon my arrival. Ireland has been an amazing experience and will provide the most fantastic memories for the rest of my life. Hopefully, I can return to my European home in the near future.