There are many terms people use to describe me— “quasi-intelligent” “twenty years old” “emotional” “really, really emotional” “seriously how can someone cry that much” etc— however the one that most aptly describes me is, “Californian”. To my core I am a California girl, a girl who loves bright and loose clothes, someone wants nothing more to just ~chill, man~ and do her own thing, a girl who only wants to see you do the same, someone whose Instagram bio reads “I belong to the Pacific”, someone who is used to 70° winters. What I am not— even after two and a half years at Richmond— is a girl who is used to cold, rain, and non-draught ridden areas.
Taking these natural, life-long tendencies into mind, clearly the place where I decided to apply to study abroad is a country known for fog, shepherds wearing thick sweaters and wool caps, and rolling hills made green by extreme amounts of rain. I’m talking about, of course, Ireland. Éire. Erin. The Emerald Isle. The Most Ancient Land… take your pick.
I don’t know what drew me to Ireland. Maybe it was the book of Celtic fairytales my father used to read to me. Maybe it was because it was such a polar opposite from what I knew (Gettit? Polar? Because cold? No? Sigh.). Maybe it was just the romance of it all. Either way, here I am, listening to folk-rock music, sitting in an Irish kitchen, wearing Irish slippers, watching my first Irish sunrise, while eating a traditional Irish dish, tortellini with pomodoro sauce.
My roommates show up tomorrow morning, so I need to enjoy this solitude while I can, because once I finish this bowl of pasta and head to my room to sleep, I am completely in unfamiliar territory. I’m here entirely and 100% by myself and I have no idea what I’m in for.
I know that for the next four months I’ll always have pasta and pomodoro sauce, I know I’ll have the same sun to watch rise, and I know I’ll have the same music, but I also know that I have a lot of things in my future that are very different from anything/everything that I’m used to.
No matter how far I’ve traveled in the past, no matter how many countries I visited, I always knew that soon I would be headed home to my California. That is no longer the case. Yes, I’m a home-grown California girl in an unfamiliar environment, but I’m here for four months and I think it’s time to spread my roots. California is my identity, but maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s time to uproot myself. Uproot and relocate. Adapt and grow. Ditch my flip-flops for boots. Stop taking the 405 to the 210 and taking a left on Sunset and instead walk a mile to school. Try belonging to the Atlantic instead of the Pacific.
I’ll be seeing you in all the old (un)familiar places,
Brownie-Maker, Californian, Youngest of Six Children, Proud Member of the Westhampton Class of 2017