The three most exciting sounds in the world: anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles.
April 19th, 2013
April 18th, 2013
January 22nd, 2013
December 20th, 2012
And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?
It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.
December 20th, 2012
December 9th, 2012
- South America (preferably Peru, Argentina and Costa Rica)
- Niagara Falls
- Road trip out west
- Portland Oregon and Seattle Washington
- New York City
- The Netherlands again
- Denmark, Sweden, Finland, etc.
- Go skiing
- Go scuba diving
- Snorkel in a coral reef
- Volunteer abroad (through Ubelong or another organization)
December 9th, 2012
I just have this crazy desire to go back to England right now. I miss being able to catch a train or bus going nearly anywhere you’d please. I miss the grannies with their little push carts heading over to Morrisons. I miss the daffodils all over the place, the sheep, the cars, the chicken and leek pie.
Sometimes I feel like I spoiled my time spent in England by staying cooped up in my room. I was so shy… I wish I could go back in time and make a bigger effort to get out and explore more often! Someday I surely hope to return to Europe, either for a visit or perhaps to stay (at least for a little while).
November 7th, 2012
October 14th, 2012
October 14th, 2012
I’ve been safe and sound, back at home, for about 5 months now, and I’ve been thinking more and more about my time in the UK recently. I have toyed around with the idea of writing a post reflecting on my time studying abroad, and I think now is the right time to do so.
I’m going to be very honest here, because frankly, I wish someone had been so upfront with me before I left home for around 6 months in the UK. I had no idea what I was really getting in to, and I’m still a bit befuddled by it all.
Study abroad sounds like an amazing adventure, and I’m sure for some people it really is, but for me it was rather difficult.
I’ve always had this strong urge to leave, to travel, to see the world, and to meet new people, but I’d never had the chance to do so. So, when the opportunity arose, I jumped at it. And I do still believe that studying abroad is a great learning experience - although it didn’t teach me any of the things that I expected to learn about myself. I also strongly believe that traveling as a student is one of the best ways to go, because really (and I mean REALLY) when are you going to find the time after you graduate? You’ll (hopefully) have a job, and it turns out that people don’t really like to let you leave for months on end when they’re paying you.
That being said, I don’t think study abroad is the best idea for everyone…
I found this out the hard way. I know several people who have studied abroad in the past (even a few who had actually studied at the school that I attended), but while they were all vastly supportive of my plans to go to the UK, no one really expressed to me what to expect. I don’t blame these people, however. I understand that their time could have been very different than what I experienced abroad, so I know that no one could have fully enlightened me on what to expect. I also know that there is some pressure upon returning home to simply tell everyone that you had a great time, because who really wants to hear about the hard parts of your amazing, across the world journey that you just embarked on? (The answer is obvious).
While I realize that my friends meant no harm in “misleading me,” I sometimes wish that they had opened up to me and shared the difficult points of leaving home for so long. By writing this, I hope that I can act as an honest friend to some of my followers who might be considering study abroad. I do not want to scare anyone away, I simply want to prepare you for the turbulent waters that you might find ahead of you.
I enjoyed my time in England. I fell in love with the rolling hills, the always bright green grass, the sheep that dotted the fields. I even enjoyed the rain (to an extent). But I think I made a few mistakes that hindered me while I was abroad. First, I felt a bit blindsided when I arrived (which is unavoidable). My mistake here was to shy away from others. I tend to be a quiet, reserved person, and I regret not trying to reach out to others more when I first arrived. I also had difficulty meeting and getting to know my fellow flat mates. I was assigned to live in a small house with 7 other women, and we only shared two common areas (the kitchen and restroom). I don’t quite know how I could have managed differently, even after looking back on my time for the past few months, but I think I ought to have tried to reach out to my flatmates more. I initially felt intimidated, as they seemed to have gotten to know each other rather well and I felt like a bit of an outsider, and I never quite got over that feeling.
Over the course of my time in the UK, I spent a great deal of my time in my room, either studying or watching TV on my laptop. I think I just felt lost. I relied a lot on my boyfriend back home to help me sort things out, and I put him through a lot of trouble. I’m very grateful for his patience and love, because I don’t know how things would have turned out if I hadn’t had his support.
Ultimately, I think that I made the mistake of studying abroad with desire to travel, and not just to learn. Had I wanted to immerse myself in the culture, or to truly learn, I think I would have fared better. Instead, I spent most of my time either in my little house or traveling.
And the traveling was great fun. I did get to visit a few different cities during the semester, as well as a longer trip that I took to the continent. My boyfriend, Christian, and I also traveled around the UK before I left for home. I loved seeing so many places!
Sometimes I wish I could go back. I wish I could go about my time differently. I envision reaching out to others more, handling the stress in different ways, ultimately making more out of my trip. I can’t go back in time, however, so I have tried to learn from my regrets. I hope that I will continue to grow and that this experience will lead me in the right path.
I do know that I still have the strong urge to travel, and I can’t wait to see where I end up next!