a mix of emotions & a lot of thank you’s

I’m finally taking some time to sit down and reflect on my time abroad. It’s crazy, I’ve only been home for just over a month and yet Leeds and my time there feels like it’s a world away.

I guess I start right off the bat with I miss Leeds. I miss the culture, I miss my group of friends, I miss my flat mates, I miss being apart of something different. I miss being a plane or train ride away from the rest of Europe. I miss not being able to explore something new  or a new place everyday. It’s really hard, there are so many things that I associate with my time there. I’ve been pretty close to tears a couple of times thinking about how much fun we all had and knowing that it will never be like that again. To know I never be able to travel Europe for a whole month straight. And, to know that my Monday nights will never live up to Monday night Quids In….. it hurts my heart. But, I know that I will always have the memories, and the pictures to remember my time by.

I wish I could just hop on a plane a go back. And I guess that’s a pretty good indicator of what my time there meant to me. I’m about to get pretty deep here, by my standards, so get ready.

Before I went abroad I was a pretty closed off person. There were some things that happened in my early years of college (I’m so old :() that turned me off to a lot of the typical college things. I didn’t really go out much and when I did I would always find a nice corner to stand in, so I never really enjoyed it. It doesn’t help that I have like zero FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) so I never really felt like I was missing out. And honestly I have to give a huge shout out to all my friends at U of I for putting up with my ridiculousness, because my independence sometimes makes me a real brat.

Ok enough back story. I don’t know if deciding to go abroad and actually going abroad was a huge step outside my comfort zone because I’m a pretty independent really independent person and once I decided to go that was it. I don’t really know who or what to credit for getting me to really open up and just say yes to things. I think it might have been because I truly wanted to make the most of my experience, so that I could look back and be like ‘damn, I had a really good time,’ which I did, lol.

It seemed that in me going to study abroad in Leeds the stars aligned. I’m so glad I said yes to everything I did, even though I might be broke for having doing so. And writing this now I’m finding it very hard to put into words what my study abroad experience meant to me. I truly ‘yoloed it.’

I guess what I really just want to say is thank you….

To my U of I gals, thank you for teaching me to yes to things. For sometimes pushing me a little too far outside my comfort zone because you knew it was good for me. For always picking on me because I can’t even speak American English correctly. For making me laugh uncontrollably for 5 minutes over nothing in particular. For putting up with my crazy person like tendencies. For making me re-learn how to enjoy a night out. And, for being the 3 best people to travel Europe with for 5 months. You 3 are irreplaceable.

To my flatmate Chase, thank you for defining what it is to just rally and yolo it. For making Monday Night Quids In a regular thing. For taking in all the neighborhood cats and giving them your own names. Salem <3. For somehow always getting free shots at Pryzm because the promoter knows you. For always being up for anything. For always putting up with me, lol. You will forever be my Quids In partner in crime. Maybe one day they will want us to be the special guests. Oh, and thanks for living in Wisconsin so I only have to travel an hour to visit.

To the Brits, thank you for putting up with me and all my craziness. For still wanting to hang out with me even after you realized I might be legit crazy. For some of the best nights out and pre’s I’ve ever had. And, for teaching me, kind of, how to play Rugby.

To my stateside friends, thank you for putting up with the crazy time difference. For dealing with my spotty wifi. For still wanting to be my friend after not hearing from me for days at a time. For still being my friend now that I’m home….

To my sister, thank you for inspiring me to go. For only being a little mad I didn’t choose to study in Italy. For giving me guidance all through college. For being extremely tough loving. For wanting to plan a trip back sometime soon. And, for being a pretty great older sister overall despite your flaws. I’m still my favorite sister, lol.

To my family, thank you for still remembering me after being away for 5 months. For all your kind words and advice. For sending cards and always thinking of me. For following along with my travels by reading my blog. And, for being my family. But, not for everyone having birthdays in the spring so that I had to miss every single one of them, not cool.

And lastly…

To my parents, thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. For supporting me all along the way. For letting me go all the way to England for 5 months. For always being a text away even at 2 or 3am. For putting up with the time difference. For giving me no boundaries in terms of where I could go. For not saying no. For loosing up on the reins and giving me the chance to be free. For coming to visit me. For loving me unconditionally. And, for being the best parents out there. I will never be able to say thank you enough for this opportunity you gave to me. You truly have given me the world for that, I am forever grateful and indebted to you.

And, I know I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the thank you’s I have but I can’t go on forever.

Study abroad was the best decision I’ve ever made. I learned and re-learned a lot of things. I’ve made some incredible friendships and a hell of a lot of memories I’ll never forget. I have a whole difference perspective and outlook on life. And most importantly I know now just how powerful and rewarding it is to say yes.

Cheers.

~meesh

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