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November 22, 2013
Vol. 55 No. 11

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Ireland reignites writer's passions

While I've been in Ireland (I still grin every time I realize I'm in Ireland), I've made an extremely difficult decision. See, I spent the past two summers working at a summer camp in Beach Lake -- living with eleven-year-old girls, teaching softball and tennis, building eighteen-foot fires, the average camp experience. This coming summer, I've decided not to go back. Instead, I've opted for a summer in Kansas City, Mo., with some sort of internship, maybe a class or two, my family, a Chipotle within ten minutes of my front door and a few months without too many commitments.
To be absolutely honest here, I do not think I would have made the same decision if I weren't spending this semester in Ireland.
Sure, that has a bit to do with the fact that I have now made three trips to various places in England to visit some of my best friends from camp (about half of the staff is international), so missing them isn't currently a factor. And yes, it's probably easier to make decisions while you're on another continent rather than where the most of your commitments are housed.
The most prominent factor in all of this, I think, is that I'm in Ireland.
Yes, you all know that. Yes, I realize that's the basic premise of this column in the first place. But I understand my current situation in a whole new way, almost every single day.
Here, there are possibilities. There are always new cafés to try, new chips to order, new bus routes to take and new people to meet. What I've realized in recent weeks is something that feels monumental, though it's unbelievably simple: these are all options in the States, too.
I want to try more new things, now, and I know that there are plenty of cafés in downtown KC that I am yet to ever lay eyes on, much less purchase food from. There are thousands of artists in that city, and I have barely met any of them. There is some sort of open mic poetry event nearly three times every week, and yet I've only been to one or two.
So will this coming summer contain an internship and a few online Susquehanna courses? Most likely. But will it also include road trips, afternoons in corner barbecue restaurants, finger painting with my Mom, extra weekends with grandparents and entirely too much Chipotle? Well, I mean, come on. It's me. Of course.
Ireland has rejuvenated my excitement. I feel like I just left LeaderShape my freshmen year in Selinsgrove, like I've been introduced to a whole new part of who I am and what I am able to do. I feel as though I'll be coming home all over again when I fly back across the ocean in December -- I am a different person, now.
I only have a few weeks left here, too much of which will be spent studying for finals and packing to fly back. But there are plenty of moments left, plenty of banter to be had with my roommates, a softball Thanksgiving dinner in my apartment and hours upon hours of dancing in bars.

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