I am still catching up on Italy and Greece posts, but as today I fly back home to Virginia (with only a small delay) I wanted to jump ahead and give you my thoughts on the end of my time in Ireland, and mostly about the friends I have made here.
Last Week in Cork
I will readily admit I spent the last week in Cork in deep denial (although does it really count as denial if I realize it is denial?). Even as I shed tears over more goodbyes than I wanted to ever say, and made last stops at all my favorite haunts, went to the UCC campus for the last time…I was determined to plow ahead. Avoid thinking of now and focusing on everything good that I was coming home to. That more than anything has helped me keep it together this last week. All the things I missed from home; from Reese’s cups to my boyfriend to regularly washing all my clothes (and for free).
I have focused on all the positives of going home and tried my best to ignore what I will miss most about Cork.
I have said goodbye to all my favorite spots. Had last meals, last drinks, last shopping excursions at all the most memorable parts of the city center. I have stocked up on Butler’s hot chocolate, eaten more O’Flynn’s sausages than I care to admit to, wandered through Topshop and the English Market. Eaten my last Gino’s extra cheese and pepperoni pizza and scoop of gelato while reading a book. Had a last drink at the Washington Inn. Had my last homemade pot of spiked hot chocolate with friends. My last trip to Penny’s. My last time on the UCC campus, to print my plane tickets.
I love my friends back home, and I have missed them. These friends from high school, college, and even elementary school who I am so glad to be coming home to finally see after five months. But my college career has been filled with friends fluttering in and out of my life within a semester or two. Now I have made some of the best friends of my life, and the pattern is continued.
Already we have been flung across the world without any set date of a reunion. Real life will take hold of us, and Skype dates and letters will be the best we can do after five months of constantly being in one another’s presence, traveling together, practically living together. These women had knit themselves into my life faster than I could have imagined, and I can only think myself better for each of their unique influences.
I have learned to be spontaneous, a hard lesson for me and one I needed. I have pushed my boundaries and done things I could not have pictured myself doing a few months ago. This experience has been a time of growth and personal reflection that could not have been nearly as rewarding without these friends.
We plan to visit, anywhere in the world we can manage, and as often as we can. We have talked into the wee hours of the night about our lives, and our plans to travel together in the future. We have supported one another through more than you might think in such a short time together. We have said again and again how lucky we were to meet on that first day. How lucky I am to have met these ladies, to have experienced so much life with them.
It is difficult to relate these feelings, particularly in blog format. Particularly because I have done all I can to deny that I must say goodbye to these amazing people, to this city that has adopted me. I have done my best to look forward to this summer, to being in Virginia, to being back at UMW. I have not put enough thought into the fact that this chapter is ending and I cannot stop its closure. But I seem to be unable to properly express how happy I am to have gone on this adventure, and with such perfect friends along for the ride. I have appreciated all of these friends I have made here, and find myself better for knowing you all.