THE BELGIAN DIARIES: MY JOURNEY BACK HOME
I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to be called so I can go home. I mean go home for real – no more random stints in different countries, at least not for quite a while.
It seems like such a long time ago since I posted my initial suitcase photo on the day I was heading out here to Brussels. I can’t tell if time flew by or slowed down. Maybe it was a bit of both.
A lot has changed for me in the past few weeks – more than I thought would – and it’s led to me doing a bit of thinking about my year out from my normal life (because that’s essentially what an Erasmus is) and the things I’ve missed most about life at home.
The thing is, my year in Paris was absolutely unbelievable, and my time in Brussels was too, but I feel like I left a large part of my life at home in Dublin and I can’t wait to come back and pick up where I left off. I miss my life in UCD, the societies, the debates, the meetings with SpunOut, the projects and campaigns I used to throw myself into… I miss the old me that I left standing at Dublin airport in June 2013. None of that was really there for me when I left. For all intents and purposes, going to Paris wasn’t just a year away from UCD, it felt like a year away from reality. I lived in my own little Erasmus bubble.
And it was great. Really great. But I’m ready to move past it now. I’ve had a bit of time recently to think about all the things I want to accomplish this year and on the top of that list is my degree. The idea of final year (and it being worth 100% of my final grade) used to terrify me, but now that it’s here, I actually feel strangely happy about it. I’m going to put my best foot forward with this one and I’m determined to graduate from a degree that I gave my all.
I guess I’ve changed my mind about letting it intimidate me. It no longer seems like an unattainable goal. In a way I’m looking forward to embracing the challenge.
Another goal for the year involves running a half marathon in April. 22km – I think I can do it. Or at least, I hope I can. One more thing to tick off the bucket list! I’ve been trying to build up to it and things are going quite slowly (I can do 13km but at a snail’s pace) but I’m going to stick it out and see how things go over the next few months. Might help relieve some of that exam stress too!
Aside from that, I’m going to fully throw myself back into my old projects, or at least as much as time will allow for. I am an activist and I love campaigning for human rights. This is never going to change, it’s a huge part of who I am. I might have shelved this activism for a while, but now I’m taking it right back up again from where I left off.
My time in Brussels meant that I was alone and miles away from all my friends and family, but the plus to this was that I had quite an amount of time to really think over where I am right now and where I want things to go.
When I sat in this airport six weeks ago, I just thought I had a work placement away to keep me distracted until September. My time here was that and more. I’m beginning to feel back on top of things again, like the old pre-Paris me, only with significantly more experience and a higher standard of French. I feel like I’ve come out of this all as a new upgraded me – Sorcha version 2.0.
Maybe it takes going away to realise all the important things about both your life at home and yourself as a person. If that’s the case, everyone should try a year out from reality. It makes the world of difference.