A Year Ago Today

Maybe, one day, I’ll travel around the world.
Maybe, one day, I’ll write a book!
Maybe, one day, I’ll climb a mountain so I can get a new perspective on life.
Maybe, one day, I’ll do everything I’ve ever dreamed of.
Maybe, one day…

All of these “Maybes” are what keep me going in life. There are so many possibilities and directions my life can take, so many day dreams just waiting to unfold. Ok, so maybe I’m a little scared at the prospect of all these options, but overall I have a more positive outlook than last year.

A year ago today I published my last blog post of sophomore year. When I think about how I felt at that time, what was going on in my life, where I thought I was going, all of the “Maybes” and questions I didn’t know how to answer, I can’t help but realize how much of that has changed.

I spent an unforgettable semester abroad soaking up the culture and history of Ireland while meeting some amazing people along the way. I learned so much, both intellectually and about myself. Art, music, literature, history, people, those are my passions. Thirteen museums, a multitude of books, one hand-sewn cloak, countless hours with newly made friends, and over 3000 photos later I’m back home wishing it had never ended. Sometimes all of it feels like a dream, so vivid and yet already so far away.

I’ve mentioned before how I have a better sense of direction, how I now have a (vague) sense of what I want to do with my life. And it’s true, I do. Taking communications courses has created so many more possibilities for my creative endeavors, to such an extent that I’m interning for Loyola’s Communication department on the Timonium campus next fall! (Woo! I’m super excited!)

Oh man, next fall…is going to be interesting. I’m taking 6 courses, a good mix of comm, art, and, ready for this? Morals and Politics of Lord of the Rings. Yep, that’s right. You know when you flip through course catalogues at college admissions offices and you see all the cool courses like “Scandalous Victorians” or “Global Macho: Race, Gender and Action Movies” and you’re like, Oh boy! I can’t wait to take that! But then you get to college and find out those are only upper levels or the professor who taught them is on sabbatical or the courses simply aren’t offered anymore. So you can imagine my geeky joy when I found out Loyola was offering such a course and I got one of the last spots in the class. As demanding as my course load will be, I’m still looking forward to the beginning of my senior year.

How can I be thinking of next year when this one has barely ended?

Great question! I don’t know, to be honest. Call it procrastination, or stress induced hallucinations, or the basic excitement for what’s to come. All I know is that next year contains a whole lot of “Maybes” waiting for me to make them into definite eventualities. And I have to admit, that’s a tantalizing prospect.

And so I bid you adieu, fair readers. May all your wanderings, wherever you are, be fruitful, happy, and full of adventure! Have a great summer!

Contemplating Romantic Freedom

“What is your dream date?”

I always love those questions on surveys and “about me” sections in spring magazines. Yes, spring is here and love is in the air. Couples sashay across campus, holding hands and looking adorable, at least to the eyes of singles. It is those singles who read said magazines and laugh at the ridiculous questionnaires and advice columns on every other page. Because *dramatic eye roll* obviously it’s so revealing how I want to spend my time getting to know someone. Oh No! Spoilers!

Right.

When I was little, I thought dream dates were silly, because in my head I considered myself lucky to be going on a date at all. I was so concerned with the idea of being liked and sought after that I never grasped the point of dating – getting to know someone as a potential partner.

Like, Ew, right? Who needs boys? I sure don’t. I don’t need someone else. I can make it on my own. I’m a strong and independent young woman! That was what I told myself ages 12 through 20. This is quite possibly why I wound up breaking up with all my exes. Why I still break up with them.

Yes, I am that girl. The girl who gets into relationships, falls into them really, and has no reason to. The girl who always winds up breaking it off because falling means getting back up again with someone else, and I, supposedly, do not need someone else in my life. I can make it on my own.

And yet, I wonder. I wonder as I see schoolmates from home getting engaged. Or married. Or having kids. I wonder as I see my best friends falling in love and being so scared of putting their heart on the line, but knowing that in the end, it’s worth it. I wonder as I remember falling once, but in the end I got up on my own. My heart wasn’t worth it.

There’s a saying that once you stop looking for someone, they find you. I’ve never really been looking, but someone has always found me. Someone decides that I’m their someone. I’m their something to fix. I’m this thing that they have a right to inspect, to poke and prod and ask why without really listening to my answer.

So if I’ve been through all this before, if I know the routine, why do I let it happen? It’s kinda funny, see, after every break up, I say, “No more men. That’s it. I need a 6 month break. At least.” I’m not the only one, because, trust me, I’ve heard this from many other women on campus – there’s a constant push to find “The One” but retain the independence other women have struggled to gain for the next generation. And yet, despite all this, maybe a month after a breakup, there’s someone new. Someone to flirt with, someone to talk to, someone to look forward to seeing in the hallway. I don’t ask for attention. I don’t ask to be “courted.” It just kinda…happens.

The point of this is not to brag. This is just a thing that has been bugging me lately. It’s a thing that, frankly, I’m tired of and should stop letting myself get into. Maybe if I stop being so passive about how I feel, or don’t feel, I won’t find myself chasing after a wispy hope of redemption in the eyes of another. Maybe if I didn’t rely on this wispy hope of romanticized guessing games resulting in “perfect date” potential, I could actually be happy with my unromantic life choices.

Side Note: And in case you’re curious, that perfect date would involve a combination of museum, book store, food, and cuddling while enjoying a movie/TV show.

The Beginning of the End (or not?)

Hello again! I know it’s been forever since I’ve written, and I really do apologize. Between the experience of celebrating Thanksgiving in a different country, to visiting Amsterdam, to writing two 4,000 word papers (that’s about 15 pages, double spaced) and getting through two exams, it’s been a bit busy here. Not to mention the usual adventures in Cork with my friends.

Originally, I was planning to write this on the plane ride back to the States, but the weather seems to be conspiring against me – my flight was one of thousands to be cancelled due to the snow storm blowing through the east coast this weekend. To be fair, it isn’t too pleasant here, either. As I’m writing this the wind is howling through the alleyway, pushing up against my window and seemingly trying to get into my room to introduce me to its new best friend, Sideways Rain.

So now I have an extra day to reflect on my time here, to ponder over my experiences, and to share some sort of insight with you.

Honestly, that scares me a little.

I’m not…I’m not ready to leave yet. Or rather, I’m not ready to leave permanently. I’m kind of excited to go back home: to see my family and friends, to enjoy the snow (instead of rain), to snuggle with my cats, to read my leisure books, to sleep without an alarm, to knit, to, to…to do everything.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to do those things here, too. But a little bit of home would be nice. Especially a little bit Baltimore, because I’m really missing that right now.

But back to that ‘scary’ part.

I think a large part of me doesn’t want to sit down and analyze my time here because that would mean it’s “over.” It would mean accepting that I may never come back and see all the amazing people I’ve met and become friends with. It would mean fully realizing I’m almost 3/4 through college and have more questions than answers about my future. Studying abroad has given me so many more possibilities to think about, not just in regards to traveling outside the US, but also to where I see myself in the future (I’ve been toying with the idea of Washington and Oregon).

So maybe I’m not totally ready for a tell-all blog post. Give me a week or two to filter and adjust – then I will be. In lieu of that, I propose a few other posts to break up the introspection:

  1. Adventures in Amsterdam! SO MANY PICTURES. Really. It’s an amazing city.
  2. 10 Things I’m going to miss from Ireland
  3. 10 things I learned from study abroad

I look forward to writing again over the next week!