Freedom (and Europe), I Miss You

16 Jan

Today is a bittersweet day–it’s been two years since I left to study abroad in the Czech Republic for a semester. I’m sad the experience is over, and getting so far away, but it’s nice to relive those great memories.  What a semester it was–by far the best four months of my entire life. When people talk about a time when they had no responsibilities, that was mine. Reality existed in a totally different realm while I was abroad–our most important decisions were where we were going to travel on the weekends, what restaurant we were going to eat at, and how we could avoid doing laundry for another week.

I vaguely remember stressing over whether I was going to have enough money for a trip to Poland towards the end of the semester, before realizing my parent’s American Express card was sitting in my wallet, for “emergency purposes.” Seemed pretty urgent to me! And while that seemed like a big decision at the time, it’s nothing compared to today, where “worry” and “stress” have replaced my first and middle names.

When I came back from Prague, I had made some of the greatest friends I will ever have, and shared so many trips and laughs and good memories which we still talk about constantly. An obvious word of advice: if you haven’t taken the opportunity and still have the chance, you better start packing! So many people say they’re going to wait until they graduate and then backpack across Europe, but by then, it’s too late. Once graduation rolls around, most people are focused on one thing: getting a job. For those who don’t have one, it’s hard to remove that fear and anxiety, and for those who do, I don’t know too many employers who will wait for you to finish your joyride. (But if you do, PLEASE GOD TELL ME! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!)

Once you graduate, adulthood hits you in the face and your priorities shift. But wherever you end up, the great thing about that time is you never forget it. I have such an emotional attachment to those four months, and I think about them so often. That semester wasn’t just about the travel, or the bonds, the new best friends or the innumerable experiences. Those four months gave me the overwhelming feeling of just being free. And while that’s something I’ll probably never get back, it is something I will never let go of.

To all my friends, you are wonderful, and I’m so lucky to have shared these past two years with you. Na zdraví!


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