Things I Learned the Summer After I Studied Abroad

It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me, and for that I apologize.

I kind of jetted off to the other side of the world for just over four months to study abroad in Florence and London (it was amazing, by the way) and first became preoccupied managing a different blog dedicated specifically to that adventure and then was swept up by the summer life of a college student (“werk werk werk werk werk ajfeiaipahgiehafihe” you know what I’m saying?).  But throughout all that, this summer has been one full of learning as I process my experiences abroad and integrate my new world view and sense of self into my life back home.

Because now when I spend my nights tossing and turning, completely restless, it’s not because some boy broke my heart but because Europe did when we said good-bye.

Here is a compilation of the things that I have learned this summer after having studied abroad:

  1. Readjustment is the next chapter of my book.
  2. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and life goes smoothest if you accept each person for whichever they are.
  3. Forgive people if only because holding onto anger and hurt only hurts you and not them.
  4. Time heals.
  5. I don’t have time for people who are insistent on being rigid and unyielding to possibility.
  6. “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” -Polish proverb
  7. “Self-loathing is the silent hemorrhaging of the soul.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach
  8. I don’t have time to chase perfection that’s unattainable.
  9. Some people just make your heart smile.
  10. I am a woman now (and not in body alone).
  11. Growing up is as much a choice as it is inevitable.
  12. Make ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
  13. Everyone deserves to be loved the way that Luke Danes loves Lorelai Gilmore.
  14. I’m afraid to laugh with you because I’m afraid it’ll bring back all of my feelings.
  15. It’s tragic how we measure our worth according to those who don’t love us instead of the many more who do.
  16. I have an unquenchable thirst for life.
  17. I’m obsessed with Gilmore Girls.
  18. What it feels like to be the human equivalent of a sea anemone.
  19. “Worry is believing God won’t get it right.” -Todd Wagner
  20. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” -Anonymous
  21. I will never get over Once Upon a Time season 2, episode 21.  R.I.P.
  22. Every girl has her Christopher/Dean (depending upon which Lorelai you relate to more).
  23. Periods destroy self-esteem in every way possible.
  24. If I ever want to destroy my self-esteem in one shot, I just have to go bowling.
  25. We seem to have forgotten, in this day and age, who our neighbor is.
  26. Sometimes people (especially elderly people who come to the deli) just want to pick a fight.
  27. Zucchini squeaks.
  28. “Never gonna live if you’re too scared to die.” -“So Alive,” Goo Goo Dolls
  29. This world needs more people like Lin-Manuel Miranda
  30. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who drive under the speed limit in perfect conditions.  The other is people who think they can just check out at the service counter.
  31. I love driving home at night by myself: windows down, radio up, open road.
  32. There is a reason I’m not an optimist, and it’s the same reason I’m Hook.
  33. Living in two places at once makes it difficult to have a life.
  34. I’m tired of pretending that perhaps I haven’t outgrown “the Bubble.”
  35. Young adults who are in their mid-20s and have already graduated college seem so much adultier than me.
  36. Working the service counter has exposed me to a whole other level of human stupidity, ignorance, pettiness, entitlement, and selfishness.
  37. “Bring Forth the Kingdom” is a song that should never have extra key changes added.
  38. There are karmic reasons why we continue to find ourselves in similar situations, facing the same demons; it’s the universe giving us a second chance to learn our karmic lessons.
  39. Someone inevitably calls at 8:30 a.m. every morning, and without fail, I wake up in a panic thinking I’m late for work.
  40. I miss just being able to pick up and go places on my own.
  41. I like pepperjack cheese.
  42. There is such thing as a “post-Europe glow.”
  43. The thing about names is they’re a huge part of our identities that we don’t even get to choose for ourselves.
  44. I just hope that when I grow old, I have a partner who wants to go grocery shopping with me every week.
  45. Some people push us into the arms of others.
  46. What it means to “sluice.”
  47. In Kentucky, “fresh chilled desserts” equals pudding.
  48. “You don’t realize how many people you hate until it’s time to name your kids.” -Grandma Lutz
  49. All tampons are not created equal.
  50. Rocking chairs seem to be seats of wisdom.
  51. Professor Kennedy ruined my ability to just enjoy museums without thinking critically about how they are constructed and what sort of heritage narrative they are presenting.
  52. I can’t stand people who take pictures of literally everything.
  53. I hate “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor.
  54. “You touch it, you catch it.” -The whole family in Kentucky
  55. Tofu looks like what you’d get if Jell-O and soap had a baby.
  56. I like country music.
  57. Europe seriously aided me in getting over my fear of heights and encouraged me to do things even if I was afraid.
  58. Feelings shape memories and taint experiences.
  59. Children’s movies say so much about the world we live in.
  60. You know you made the right choice when you are at peace.
  61. Chocolate chip cookies are my weakness.
  62. I am Lorelai Gilmore.  I am her. (variation on Chris D’elia’s “Drunk Girls”)
  63. Time doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints and it takes and it takes and it takes… (variation on “Wait For It” from Hamilton)
  64. I’m a fighter, so if I flee, that means you’ve pushed me too hard, too long and now I don’t have any fight left in me.
  65. Always tell your friends you love them.
  66. SPOILER ALERT**: The Cursed Child is not up to the head canon of the epilogue of Deathly Hallows.
  67. I am Hamiltrash.
  68. There are some good lessons in this list (if I do say so myself).  I should reread them more often; sometimes I can use the reminder.

There you have it, folks: my summer 2016 lessons learned.  I love rereading these because sometimes I can remember why I wrote some of them or when or how I learned them.  Sometimes they are great reflections of who I was compared to who I am now.  And this one certainly says a lot about the girl who came back from Europe and what she has lived through since.

Here’s to another semester.  Here’s to more lessons to be learned.  Onward!



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