Ireland – Feels Like Home (But Not Quite ….) On Homesickness – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
[Fact: I’ve found it impossible to be homesick when surrounded by this much beauty]
We have been in Ireland just over a month. At this point, the trip has brought many experiences and events for us nearly every day. However, it is also that point where many of us have been getting homesick and, in my case at least, restless.
It was interesting to note that a good number out of our sixteen students started getting a little crabby and irritated with each other. I was one of them and did not understand why I was so easily annoyed until my friend Annie pointed out that it had been a month since we had gotten here. I think everyone has finally adjusted to life in Louisburgh, which is great but also comes with the ups and downs, including homesickness.
I have never really been homesick. My first two years of college I loved being in Duluth. Honestly, I just don’t like transitions. As soon as I get comfortable in a place, I adjust quickly. My first semester of this year was different for a few reasons. It was the first semester my sister was not also at CSS with me (she graduated last May). While my brother started at CSS this past fall, he is not as sympathetic to me when I’m feeling whiney and just want to complain about the world. My family is also experiencing some health issues with one family member, so it was much harder being away at school. In order to prepare for being in Ireland the second semester, I only returned home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and one weekend in between where I had a doctor appointment. Looking back, I think it’s hilarious I thought that was preparation for this semester.
[The Church Bar]
It is one thing to understand that you will be across the ocean from your home for three months. It’s quite another to actually be across the ocean from your home for three months. I will also be spending an additional month in Europe after the Ireland trip is finished, so I am looking at four months of being away from home completely.
I have found that the age old cliché of fighting homesickness by keeping busy to actually be true. The more things I do in a day, the less time I have to think about missing my family and my cat. I also am more tired at night, which means I fall asleep instead of lying in bed, thinking about every random thought that populates my brain when I should be sleeping. A few of my friends have also noted that if you stay cooped up inside all day, that is a surefire way to feel miserable for the whole day. No matter the weather here, most of us go for walks into town or to the beach just to explore for a short while.
One factor that, counter-intuitively, made me more homesick was that we traveled to Dublin this past weekend. I loved that city more than I can express. It felt like home to me, the atmosphere was very similar to Saint Paul. All of my friends here on the trip are from small towns, so they were itching to head back to Louisburgh while I bemoaned the fact that we ever had to leave. One might think that it would help, being in the city and keeping busy. I would have agreed with you before the trip. But once we were there and I felt so at home in the city atmosphere, I knew it wouldn’t last. We stayed there two nights which were fantastic. The restaurants and nightlife in Dublin were so fun and we had a great time. We actually stopped at a pub that was a restored 17th century church, which was rather an incredible experience.
[River Liffey, which runs through Dublin and separates the city into North Dublin and South Dublin]
Once we left, though, and were back on the bus, that was when I felt even more down. Within ten minutes of leaving the city center, there were fields with sheep. Now, I love sheep, I do. I have more pictures on my camera of sheep than any person really ought to and my profile picture on Facebook right now is a selfie with a sheep. My professor promised we’ll go visit lambs soon and I plan on holding him to that. But to leave the city I fell in love with and to see a field so shortly afterwards, I felt more homesick than before we had even gotten to Dublin. I wonder if I would be less homesick if I was based in a city like Dublin. But, like most things, I was feeling better a little while later. And when we arrived back in Louisburgh after two nights in a town called Kilkenny, I was ecstatic to be home after five full days of travel and sightseeing.
Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.
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Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.
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