Final post: “Don’t make me sing, don’t make me leave”

Today I’m thankful for: “don’t make me sing,” clichés, postcards

Before reading, watch this!!

“Don’t make me sing!”

“Don’t make me sing!!!!!”

…don’t make me leave. :'(

The tragicomedy of this^, one of my favorite SNL skits ever, is exactly what saying goodbye to my semester abroad feels like. Today marks my final 24 hours living with my amazing homestay family. I’m sitting at my desk with clothes scattered around my room in gross piles and writing goodbye postcards to my host mom, my host brother, and my American host sister and kind of crying a little bit. This is sad, dear readers! Of course I feel most at home in this place moments before I have to leave it!

There are some final words I need to write before signing off this blog for the semester, though: living abroad allows you to discover who you really are. Amazing! Cheesy! Incredible!

On a more serious note, it’s been tough sometimes for me to live in a bubble of so many people I admire. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the experience of being simultaneously in awe of and challenged by my peers both in high school in Seattle and in college at Whitman, living in Prague and pretty much just letting sh*t go has been the most incredible gift I’ve ever been given. For the first time, I’ve had my character, and personality, and the way I handle situations reflected back at me with no one else to really compare it to. I’ve had no childhood friends here to check in on me, I’m not living with my sorority sisters at school like I’m used to, I was adopted by a family that five months ago were complete strangers to me, and I did it all in a country I knew nothing about. People always say they go abroad and come back a totally ~changed~ and ~worldly~ person, but clichés are clichés for a reason!! While living here, I really do feel like I’ve finally (started) to grow into the person I’ve been trying to grasp at since forever. I’ve finally begun to grow into someone I admire: someone who’s comfortable in her own skin, ready to try new things, and pretty fearless (or, at least, pretends to be).

I’ve been keeping a list of things I’ve done while studying abroad that I never thought I’d do, either successfully or *at all*—and while some of these things are not quite appropriate to share on this college-sponsored educational blog, I’d like to post a few of them here:

  • 1. eat headcheese (I bring this up every post but seriously twas a formative experience)
  • 2. make it physically inside my homestay after 36 hours of conscious travel
  • 16. go to a Czech EDM bar with only Czech people, and enjoy it
  • 31. take a train alone through Europe (at this time last year, I was scared to fly domestically alone)
  • 35. travel to places I have literally never heard of (Zlín?!)
  • 40. go on an overnight trip with people to whom I have truly never spoken a complete sentence (“study abroad: bringing reluctant American students together since globalization’s beginning”)
  • 42. apply for real jobs at home whilst in Europe
  • 44. cry more when I leave than when I arrived

So, not be be overly dramatic (HA who are we kidding)—na shledanou for the final time to the most crucial 5 months of my life. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the friendships, thanks for food, thanks for the weird weird moments, and thanks for hitting me over the head with the idea that the world is maybe a little bigger than a 30,000 person town in Eastern Washington 😉