Why Wales? Entry #18: Saying Goodbye. (My story, part 1)

I am currently sitting her in flat 8 of Dwyfor Block of Uni Hall. My room is a mess. I have my suitcase by my side which is half full (or half empty). The rest of the room is either filled with garbage, or miscellaneous stuff that hasn’t made it’s way to the suitcase yet. It’s tough fitting everything inside one suitcase and a carry-on! I did it on the way here, but was 17 pounds over (it’s weird referring to pounds as weight and not money). Anyway, I was charged $100 for the extra weight coming here… so I’m trying to pack better. I have a better carry on, and I ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff.

…but I also bought a lot of stuff too.

Alas, here I am, 11:58 P.M UK time, taking a break from packing to close on the most amazing 5 months of my life. In 30 hours and 8 minutes, my flight will be leaving Cardiff Airport. After a layover in Amsterdam, and then another in Atlanta, I should land in Virginia by 8pm EST. Of course in my head it will be 1am, so needless to say, I hope to sleep on the plane. Especially since my we’re planning on going out when I get back to celebrate my sister’s wedding which is the following day.

This past month, I have been trying to prepare myself to say goodbye. As you can see by the previous 2 paragraphs, I am desperately trying to avoid it. I really fell in love with Cardiff. As a city, as a place to study, as a place to live, as a home. If I had to put it simply, that would be it. Cardiff feels like home.

When I decided to study abroad, I honestly didn’t know where I wanted to go. During high school and part of college, I was actually a French major, so studying abroad was always in the plans. Traveling has been a love of mine ever since I went to Italy with my 11th grade English teacher, which was my first European experience. The plan was to fulfil French Education and then study abroad somewhere in France, and that’s that.

…but then I changed my major to elementary education.

Pretty much every ed. major I came in contact with warned me that studying abroad does not fit into the elementary education program. I took that warning, and gave up my dream of studying abroad. just like that.

Honestly, I did. I wasn’t upset or anything. I focused on my elementary ed. classes and set toward that. Until my best friend called me. Our mutual friend Liz (whom this blog is dedicated to) studied abroad Spring ’09, and my best friend was planning on visiting her during spring break with a couple other friends.

She expected me to say no.

How could I say no to London?

I knew London would be an amazing adventure, but I had no idea what it would lead me to.

London opened my eyes, and helped me realize how strong my love for travelling was. It helped me realize that studying abroad was still something I wanted to do. Something I needed to do. Now, I’m very lucky to have my best friend, because I almost settled on a shorter session, but my best friend insisted that I would have a much better experience if I stayed the semester.

I knew I wanted, and needed to go- but I still didn’t think it was possible. My preconceived notion of study abroaders is that they are wealthy students who have full support of their parents. Although I have some support from my parents, I have zero financial support from either of them. Besides money, I had tons of excuses, including my apartment, my furniture, and my car.

but then I just decided it would be worth it. I couldn’t let anything stand in my way. I wouldn’t let my furniture, car, apartment, or lack of finances stop me from living the life I want to live.  I would find a way, and everything would figure itself out.

Now the only problem was that I had no idea where to go. I met with someone in the NP study abroad office, and he helped me narrow it down. Since my concentration is English, I had to go somewhere that offered English courses, more specifically, the ones I needed. It ended up being narrowed down to a London program or Cardiff.

I didn’t really want to go to London, because I had already been there. Although I knew I didn’t see everything there is to see in London, I wanted some place that would be 100% new to me.

Cardiff being the cheapest program offered was only one aspect which drew me in. In actuality, I wanted something different. I wanted to go to a place and see things that most people have not seen or heard of.

Cardiff would be 100% unique to me; I wouldn’t have to follow anyone else’s expectations or trip guidelines. A clean slate.

I applied to the program, got in, and then applied for loans and worked on filling all of the forms and getting everything together.

It’s so weird for me looking back, because for so long I didn’t think this trip was possible. Not only did I make it here, but I had the best time ever. I honestly did not expect anything so great.

…to be continued….

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