When I learned of my acceptance to the University of Limerick the excitement and sense of accomplishment fueled me for months, and those weeks leading up to my move seemed never ending. It only ever seemed to get further away. I felt ready and I felt prepared the day I got my letter of admission and immediately wanted to get started. Fast forward to the handful of weeks before my move, though, and I felt anything but ready and anything but prepared.
Days seemed to be long over before I could register that they began. Hellos were quickly becoming goodbyes, and the familiarity I was used to had a timestamp. I stood in the room I grew up in–littered with boxes, emptied of my possessions–memorizing the details that were still left: my forever unkempt bed, framed photos of high school memories and odd knick knacks I have no recollection of acquiring.
I would look at the pine trees lining my favorite lake feeling a sense of loss. Would they look as beautiful every season in Ireland as they did in Minnesota? Would they be there at all? I looked at my friends, thinking how unbelievably lucky I was to have such amazing people in my life, and felt they were already thousands of miles away even though they were right beside me.
I drove through the town I lived in for 23 years, knowing my Sundays would no longer consist of Brunch–my weekly vice–with my people. I watched families dock at Lord Fletcher’s for dinner after a full day of boating on Lake Minnetonka, missing the summer I was still apart of.
I was homesick before I even left, and it put doubts in my head. I didn’t know if I would be home in 12 months or 12 years, and it gutted me as I walked through security at the airport; but the thought to turn back didn’t occur to me, and that’s what pushed me through.
Goodbyes are hard, and letting go of 23 years worth a familiarities is even harder, but I learned to find the familiar in an unfamiliar country; because if I was meant to stay put in Minnesota for my entire life, then I would not have this inescapable desire for new experiences and legs to get me there.