The last time you heard from me, I posted about how I would be leaving for Dublin in three short weeks. Now, six weeks later, I have been here for three weeks already! I was planning to post a lot sooner than three weeks in, but Dublin has been breaking my expectations - to say the least.
I should know myself well enough by now to know it takes me a while to adjust to a culture shock. Three weeks later, I am still adjusting to my new routine here in Dublin and am definitely still reeling from homesickness. Every time I travel I remind myself to not create expectations, and every time, I subconsciously still do. Sometimes, this can help me - my anxiety will lessen if a subconscious expectation is met. But usually, it will hurt me - my anxiety automatically heightens if it isn't.
For some reason, I was not expecting to feel homesick this time around leaving home, because this is my third year living far away from home and I am extremely used to living at Elon and being away from my parents. So, I guess the excitement of living in another country blinded me from the thought I may have to deal with being homesick all over again. However, culture shock, the time difference and a brand new city hit me quickly and I suddenly wanted nothing more than to be back at home with my mom and dad.
On top of this, I began dealing with some stomach problems that got pretty severe at times - severe enough that I was missing class a week into school. This landed me in the doctor's office this past Monday. I was hoping not to see a doctor at all while I was abroad, never mind twenty days in. However, I am glad I mustered up the courage to go - alone in a different country - to the doctor because the treatment he prescribed me already has me feeling much better.
This post is absolutely not to complain, though. I am a huge believer and follower of the saying "grow through what you go through." Every day, I am reminded that feeling grounded definitely comes from within, and everyone adjusts to new environments differently. This does not just apply to traveling - this applies to life. Starting at a new college, working a new job, beginning a new relationship. Trust your instincts and what you are feeling despite what the person next to you says.
In the past, when I have gone abroad, whether it was to Europe, Ghana or Mexico, I have had a habit of looking for things that remind me of home as soon as I get there. In Europe, it was desperately searching for an iced coffee at a Starbucks. In Ghana, it was American snacks (Pringles for the win) in Ghanaian supermarkets. In Mexico, it was getting an omelet at breakfast instead of anything out of the ordinary.
This trip, I promised myself I would not try to fill my experience with things from home. That defeats my efforts to immerse myself in Irish life and culture. With that being said, coffee? Local coffee shops only. And lucky for me, there are a ton of cute ones to try. I have gotten Starbucks once, when I just needed a quick taste of home (and I was super thirsty after some serious shopping on Grafton Street). Out to eat? I had the choice between mac and cheese or Coddle - an Irish potato-based soup with sausage, chicken, potatoes and onions. With a bit of self-encouragement, I went for the Coddle - and it was amazing.
Little pushes like these have helped to remind me I am indeed living in a new country and it was never supposed to be easy. I am growing through what I go through - and I damn well am not done yet.
More to come soon from Dublin. xx
Just living, learning + loving and writing some of it down along the way. Senior + Director of Panhellenic Recruitment at Elon University in North Carolina. Currently interning + curating social for some badass clients at SFW in Greensboro, NC. Yogi, sightseer, shopaholic, foodie, writer.
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