Choosing what college to go to was a bit of a joke for me. I toyed around with a few different possibilities and spent a few almost-restless nights telling myself I had a tough decision.
Really, I was just delaying the obvious. In the back of my mind, I knew I was going to The University of Kansas.
Background: I am a born and bred Jayhawk. Both of my father’s parents taught there, my dad went there and my parents actually married on the campus.
Suffice it to say, I was a bit of a KU fan. It was my greatest dream to someday go there. The distance didn’t matter.
Coincidentally, that distance shrank throughout my life: I moved from Michigan to Ohio to Nebraska.
By the time I was deciding on college, what had once been a good plane trip from home to (Daisy) Hill was consolidated into a three-hour car drive.
Still, that distance meant I definitely wasn’t going home every weekend.
“No matter,” I thought, “I can handle being away from home.”
And, for two years, I did.
There were a few occasions where my parents would plan on making semi-emergency trips down to visit or I would block out a weekend so I could go home. But, for the most part, I was alright with being independent.
Knowing that I could handle living away from home, I didn’t think it would be a problem to study abroad for seven weeks.
There were just a few factors I failed to consider:
- Time change. I’m awake, friends and family are asleep. I’m asleep, friends and family are awake.
- Lack of communication. No phone, limited Internet.
- The inability to get home at moment’s notice.
That last one really came into light last week when my dog, Magger, had to be put to sleep. Within in half an hour, I went from finding out that Magger was sick to finding out that he had been put to sleep.
Alone I sat in an Internet cafe in the middle of Berlin, crying.
That was the low.
Of course, there have also been many, many highs. I’ve climbed to the top of the Kölner Dom. I’ve stood along the former Berlin Wall. I’ve hiked through the mountains. I’ve celebrated summer solstice with beer and bonfires.
I’m not complaining and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. However, beyond the German I’ve learned, this trip has also served to teach me how much my family and friends mean to me.
I’m blessed to be here and I’ll be blessed to go home.