So I have officially been back in the states for more than 3 weeks. The holidays have come and gone, a new year has begun, I've moved back on campus in Boston, and classes have begun once again.
Returning home this time around was much easier than my return from China. Although I was gone for a much longer period of time, the cultural adjustment of returning to the states from Europe was no problem at all. On top of that, I returned the week of Christmas so I was overwhelmed with family, friends, and the overall good feeling of being where my home is. When my mom drove me down to Boston last weekend she noted how I hadn't sat still or gone a day without plans my entire time being back.
I haven't forgotten about what I've done, learned, or the people I've met- but I have definitely resparked relationships at home that I took for granted before leaving. Other relationships have also grown more distant, but I still have not been home long enough to really tell what is going on there. It's nice being here, regardless of how much fun I had while being way. I took some time on new years eve to look back on this blog and recap on the things I saw, emotions I felt, and people I met.
It's hard to pick a favorite memory from Northern Ireland. Belfast overall was a very cool city that I'm glad I got the chance to experience. It's not the typical city that people would choose to travel too, and I especially felt that as the only Northeastern student who chose to study there. Although the Troubles are "over", the secular tension still remained. This was something I never really experienced at home.
The night before I left for Belfast I did some research on Lonely Planet to see what kind of a place I was headed for. My favorite quote from the website goes as follows:
"Once lumped with Beirut, Baghdad and Bosnia as one the four ‘B’s for travellers to avoid, Belfast has pulled off a remarkable transformation from bombs-and-bullets pariah to hip-hotels-and-hedonism party town."
This was just the kind of place I wanted to go to, and this is exactly what i got.
Although I really enjoyed Belfast, the ability to travel to other places from this location was my favorite part of the trip. Munich, Amsterdam, Scotland, London, Dublin, Newcastle, and Galway were only a short bus or plane ride away. I developed a much bigger appreciation for the size of the United States, and how many drastically distant cultures exist within our own country.
2009 had been one wild ride: Spain, Israel, China, Taiwan, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland. I think I"ll make 2010 about seeing what the good ol' US has to offer.
I've officially been home for 3 weeks and my wanderlust is back.