It’s hard to say. Hard to say what needs to be said. How does one sum up a year? And of all years, this year, maybe the best and most interesting years of my life.
I’m sitting here in my apartment. This morning i said goodbye to Sarah after lunch with her and Lauren [i guess lunch makes this morning not this morning]. Then i came back here and cleaned for about four hours. Cleaned the whole apartment to keep from thinking about this. About all of this. But now there’s nothing left to clean. So i’ll clean out my head, i guess.
And i don’t really know how to go about this. I said i’d recap recent events, but i don’t much feel like doin that. Might do it later today or tomorrow or never. An exam tomorrow, too. Can’t seem to study.
What is studying abroad? It’s many things, but mostly it’s not real. You escape from the real world [your friends, family, country] and wander off into the light of another sun. Everything’s new, the ground, the air, the streets, the wind, the scent, the rivers, the grass. It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before because you’ve never been here. But it’s also so familiar, like you always belonged here and that’s why you’re there now. You live here amongst strangers, a stranger in a strange land with people who become your friend because there’s no one else. And you cling to these people. There’s nothing to hold onto, almost nowhere to even put your feet down. The world’s a blur, the days and weeks swirl around in your head and get confused, your life turns round and round. But then you look next to you and your friend’s right there, caught in the swirl with you, so you take their hand and hold tightly afriad to lose one another or even to slide a bit apart. And it makes it all okay because you know you’re not alone, that they’re there with you. And you hold one another up, make sure they don’t fall in a hole or get lost in a cloud or melt in the rain.
It’s only a year and it goes too fast but it lasts forever. You’ve only known these people for a number of months, but it feels like centuries. You’ll learn their whole life and tell them yours on a four hour bus ride to a place you never thought you’d go to. A train or a plane can make a stranger your new best friend. And you never want to lose sight of them again less they disappear or stop being real. Because none of this is real. It’s an imaginary life in an unknown continent you’ve only heard about through books and movies where you meet impossible people that you fall into so deeply and so hard that you’re bound together. You don’t want to cut those ties and you hope they never fall apart. because that would be worst of all. To discover that it never mattered, that it wasn’t real, that the people you fell in love with are ghosts.
And you go to all these places, all these places that never existed before you got their regardless of thousands of years of history. And i think i’ve said all this before, but i never stop thinking like this, about this. You pack so many experiences into so few months. It’s why friendships grow so strong. You put months of experience into a single day on a mountain or three hours walking the Seine.
And for me, it went in two phases. Phase One: Arriving here in the fall until i went back home for Christmas.
Coming to terms with all the sights and sounds that you never thought you’d see or hear. Meeting the country and other countries. I wandered a lot back then and only spent a handful of weekends in Dublin. I came here and met the people in my program. So much of it doesn’t exist in my mind, all erased and flipped away from me. But i liked it all, immediately fell in love with ireland and felt at home here. Felt stranger for me to be back in Minnesota, truth be told. But i kind of waited out those days until part two of Phase One happened and i met Michelle. She was a great time, a pretty and fiesty girl from New York. All sass and class. She made the last month or so a lot of fun until i bid her farewell around Christmas. She returned to New York for good and i spent two weeks in a blizzard.
Phase Two: Return and meeting my real friends.
And that’s not a slight to the Butler Program kids. But we just never really were good matches. I enjoyed them well enough, but we were no good for one another. Anyway, i returned hoping to meet someone new to make the last six months incredible. And i did. Enter Lauren. Met her in a class and we became a bit inseparable. A four hour trip to Cork proved to us that we were meant to be best friends. And this is the Era of Lauren, which never really ended. Even still, it’s going on. We spent hours just laughing and laughing, wandering around Dublin, causing ruckuses and defeating the irish.
Through Lauren i got to know the other IES kids, who’re a great time. TreVOR came next. We finally hung out, just the two of us, one fateful night we decided to see WATCHMEN. From then on, a friendship was born and it flourished. So i guess this is a sub-era dubbed TreVOR Time by me, just now.
Then the big trip through Amsterdam and Paris happened. Around this time, some confusion happened that none of us understand wherein i thought Lauren was mad at me and she thought i was mad at her. In reality, neither of us was mad at the other one. We’re just, i don’t know, idiots or something. But, because of this, i spent the time with TreVOR and Sarah where we became A-Team, trusted in Sarah, and she was my teammate.
Life went on, me and Lauren came back together and laughed about the lost time. Trevor and i were partners and we made continuous fools of ourselves around Dublin along with the rest of our merry crew. Time went by and the laughing and merriment never slowed. Then came Trinity Ball and my next big journey where i had to say goodbye to TreVOR. He’s off in amerika and we miss him. I guess that’s where the TreVOR Time ended and the Sarah Era began. We went through Munich and Salzburg, then returned to Dublin. And the last month, i’ve spent most of my time with her.
But we were all together here. We broke Dublin, hand in hand, singing and dancing drunkenly through the streets. I love these people.
Trevor–An amazing guy. Always up for a good time and so so so funny. There’s no way to describe his thinknig process, but it results in some brilliant things. Too, he’s like a cartoon character. He had a uniform and was just that kind of personality that you cannot forget or deny. If you want to get drunk and watch Entourage at two in the afternoon, all you need to do is give Trevor a call and make the walk over. Smart, too. He knows things and beyond the big personality and hilarity and drunken shenanigans, there’s a depth of feeling and emotion there. he’s very kind and generous and thoughtful. A good friend, one that i’m glad i got to spend some time with and hope to not lose. And the dances he invented and all the tomfoolery we caused, my god, i’m smiling just thinking about it now. And when he left, we all knew and felt it. It felt like i lost fifteen friends after he left. It’s hard to explain or describe, but when Trevor left, we all felt that we had way fewer friends in Dublin rather than only losing one.
Sarah–I’ve never met a mind like her. It’s hard to sum up Sarah as a person. She’s a nonstop surprise, really. I wish i could watch what happened inside her brain while it was working. She’s also probably the funniest person i’ve ever met. All beauty and laughs, she loves to dance and get wild, drink and smile, and she love love loves to take pictures. Before i met her, i had about 300 pictures on facebook, now i’ve almost 900. And after today, i’ll probably have more. I never get tired of her or the things she says. Too, she seems all innocence and shyness, but nothing could be further from the truth. And we lost her today, but i can’t imagine forgetting her. Kind of became my travel buddy, too. She’s been kind to me, a great friend, and always a good time. I feel like there’s so much more for me to say about her, but i can’t seem to find the words. I’ll miss her a great deal, too.
Lauren–My best friend. And i don’t just mean best friend here or best friend this year, but maybe my best friend ever. I could probably talk about her for days. She means the world to me. Too, another one of the most interesting minds i’ve met in my life. I can’t think of anyone i’ve spent more time with just laughing and laughing and laughing. There’s something in us that just fits perfectly together and makes so much sense in my head. Europe wouldn’t have been the same without her and i’m infinitely glad i met her. Not just because she introduced me to the rest of my friends here, but because she’s indispensable to me. She’s my other half here, my tag team partner, my Grandma Bufftastic. She’s perfect and i’m going to miss her most of all. Luckily, i don’t need to see europe without her. We’re flying back together, but i’ll be saying goodbye to her in New Jersey instead.
And those are probably the three most important people to me here. And i love each of them a great deal. I’m really going to miss them. A lot. Because i can’t imagine losing them, not seeing them in just a couple of days. All day today, i’ve felt tears filling up just behind my eyeballs. Trevor being gone didn’t really feel real and still doesn’t. But now with Sarah leaving, it’s all hitting me. The fact that i’m going home, that i’m losing friends, my best friends. I really do love these people.
And i’m sad and afraid.
But technology makes things easier. We’ll stay in contact the best we can. And though i’m terrible at it, i’m going to make a real effort to stay in contact. Because i need it.
Also, i don’t mean to exclude friends by only mentioning Trevor, Sarah, and Lauren. There are many more awesome people here that i’ve met. Sam, my canadian lioness, with the Tommy Pickles’ walk and the ability to always have a good time and make everyone around her have a good time. Kristen, Lauren’s brain or secretary or maintenance woman. Josh, the funny jew who seems to have a limitless knowledge of basketball and hiphop.
But i don’t mean to jabber on like this. Really must study and figure out how to handle all of this.
I’ll miss these people. All of them. More than i can even express.