Monday, June 28, 2010

The beginning, the end, and some thoughts

As usual, the problem is where to start! I'm taking a much needed break from packing to finally try and catch up on my blog which was temporarily abandoned for my painfully short 2 week backpacking adventure. With so much to say, I guess the best place to start is at the beginning. This could take a while so please bear with me and keep checking back for more stories.

For once, I can legitimately say I was a real backpacker. Somehow, with muscle and will power, I crammed everything into my 1 piece of hand luggage--my loyal North Face backpack. Lilly's last minute "did you pack this" interrogation was also helpful. I don't think I'd ever traveled so light. Almost busting at the seams, I headed to the airport Friday afternoon (June 11th). I met Sydney at the train station and we said our sad, final goodbyes. Luckily she lives in Montreal so I will hopefully find time to visit her. After waving farewell to Sheffield, I trained to Manchester airport and caught my Ryan Air flight to Dublin. Discount airlines are great but don't have the best departure times, so I got into Dublin pretty late but was able to catch a shuttle to the city centre. I walked the rest of the way to Abbey Court, the hostel I stayed in for 3 nights. It was a pretty nice hostel on the Liffey and I shared my room with about 9 other people. Little did I know, however, that one of my roommates would be an insane, self-medicating, alcoholic Irish hairdresser insomniac. Let's just say she made my first night very interesting...

Side note: My blogging stamina is not what it used to be so I'm thinking short spurts might be how things get caught up. Or, if I'm ambitious, I could spend my airport time on Wednesday working. Meh. Oh, did I mention, I'm flying to Chicago on Wednesday!! Craziness

It's so hard to think about my trip when I looking at my final days here and at my half-packed room with an exhausting mixture of sadness and excitement. England and Sheffield especially have definitely come to feel like home even though I've only been here 5 months. On the other hand, that's no chump change and I've spent almost a half a year away from all my wonderful family and friends back home. I've definitely missed people, anniversaries, weddings, and other important things but I wouldn't give up my time in Sheffield for anything. I have had new experiences, good and bad, and made life-long friends that have changed me forever. Although difficult and frustrating at times, I did enjoy my university work as well, and took some modules that have really expanded my education. As with most things though, I will definitely remember the people I met, the people I lived, danced, laughed, cried and traveled with. I will miss 27, although may be not its perpetual dirtiness. Besides people, I am sorry to say goodbye to savory pies and pasties, professors that sound like Harry Potter characters, the controversial fashion choices, dance clubs in the student union, cheap pints and pubs with character, really cheap taxis, TEA!!, people calling me 'love' and saying 'cheers'

Things I'm happy to leave behind: hills, jeggings, mini skirts, English milkshakes, the weather, the pound (and pound coins), plug adapters, food packaging sizes (I go through those tiny peanut butter jars way too fast), risking my life every time I cross the street, house inspections, 24/7 world cup obsession (can only be taken in small doses)

Things I'm excited for (besides people of course): My wardrobe!! No more living out of a suitcase. An actual TV, buses I understand, using my new cooking skills, fresh-water beaches, my bike, Wisconsin dairy products, Netflix, seeing where life takes me...

I can, at the end of it all without hesitation, say I've changed, although only time and reflection can really say how.

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