Turning the Page

3:12 PM

Well, I'm back stateside! It was quite the little adventure trying to make my way home, but I finally made it. I'm happy to be home with all things familiar and a summer of infinite possibilities ahead of me, but I'm a little homesick for Ireland and all the people there.

But let's talk about France.

After I left Ireland I spent six glorious days in France with my family and it was a magical experience.

Paris is the most beautiful city I have ever been in. Everything about it so lovely and quaint. It's a place that titillates the senses. The sounds of the metro, though screeching and murmuring make you feel like you're being pulled into an adventure you never expected. I heard music in the rusty creaks of the underground escalators and the voices of arguing Frenchmen in the streets. Everywhere you turn there are more things to see and the most stimulating smells imaginable. On one corner you sniff the peonies from the florist and on the next your drooling over the scent of fresh bread from the Boulangerie.








Amelie is probably my favorite movie and it was such a joy to recognize places simply because I've memorized them from watching that film countless times. Montmartre was my favorite part of Paris. It has such character and I felt like I'd gone back in time to see and experience things in a way that seem to have never changed. The charm of the cathedral and the view of the city that it boasts made me almost wish that I were Catholic, just so I could walk up those steps every sunday and thank God for this beautiful place.


I could go on for hours about how much I loved France, but I will spare you. I will only say, don't be surprised if you find me living there in a few years.

Now it's time to figure out where to go from here. I've been away for almost four months and now I have to fit into yet another temporary situation while I wait for school to start again. I had an interview yesterday for a summer job, so we'll see how that goes. I'm trying to find useful ways to fill my time at home. You can probably look forward to a few recipes that I'm experimenting with and maybe even a little tour of my favorites parts of Houston. It seems I'm going to have to be resourceful for company this summer since most of my high school friends won't be home for summer, lucky ducks. For now, I'm going to keep myself busy by reading, catching up on New Girl, and just being thankful to be back in a sunny place with people that I've been missing. 
-E

You Meet the Whole World Here

9:01 AM


How do I sum up an entire semester in a single post? I can't. If you've been reading you already know many of the things I've learned, but I feel like I need something to close us out since I leave the Emerald Isle tomorrow evening. I guess I shall simply follow suit of my good friends Leanna at between a shamrock and a good place and Arianne at unicorns and peaches.




The most significant thing I got out of this semester was friendships. I'm the type of person who can only be close to two or three people at a time, but here I lived with 31 people day in and day out for three months. We got pretty close as you can imagine. I learned to talk to people and open up to people that I otherwise would have never gotten to know. I'm not best friends with all 31 of these people, but I have more friends now that I think I've ever had in my life and it breaks my heart to think about leaving them tomorrow. I'll see many of them again in the fall, but some of them I may never see again. That is such a dismal thought.

I love these people and we really have become like a big family. I know I sometimes didn't fully appreciate what we've had here, but I have loved living here and I will always remember how beautiful life has been.

This chapter of life is closing and a new one is opening. I'm going back to the states with a fuller understanding of myself and God, a new major, new connections, and an entirely free summer to process all that's happened.



We had a reflection time today as a group and I found a few highlights of my time here that I don't want to forget. I need to remember to appreciate small interactions I have with people because those are often the most important. I also have to remember that even when I feel like an afterthought to everyone else, I am never an afterthought to God.


Yesterday Arianne and I visited our favorite coffee shop for the last time and we sat by the door. A man past us on his way out and he remarked, "Such a charming place isn't it? You meet the whole world here."That was just a beautiful moment. It was like he knew, haha. I felt like he was talking about Greystones. I came here and I met the world. I met all these wonderful people, I met God, and I met myself. I guess Ireland was more to me than I expected.
-E
Oh and for one of our final projects a few of us made a little video. If you enjoy silliness, you should watch it :)

Last Minute Learning

2:31 PM




Labels are dangerous. I am a moderately quiet person and because of that I have been labeled introverted. This has never really bothered me since I believed it to be a fact of my personality. This semester has taught me a lot, but most recently I've discovered that I am in fact extroverted. I get my energy from being around people, talking to people, and sharing things with others. I hate being by myself. I've always thought that the anxiety I felt when I'm alone was just my lack of independence or some flaw in my character. I've always assumed that when I'm stressed that I should spend time alone, but it never helps. I need to talk things out, I need to share experiences with other people. For years I've been trying to fit myself into an introverted box and that has not been working out. 


It seems unfair to label people based on early impressions we have and yet we continue to do it. We're on our last week in Ireland and I'm still discovering new things about the people I've been living with these past three months. I'm so grateful to have met so many beautiful souls on this trip and to have learned so much from each of them. My perspectives on a multitude of things has been changed and I feel like I will be returning to the states as a very different Elyse. God has blessed me and let me feel Him and learn from Him in deeper ways that I thought I could and nothing could ever replace that. Happy has not always been a word that could easily be applied to me, but right now I it is the perfect word. I know it's getting late to be discovering these things since I'll be getting on a place next week, but I finally feel like I'm progressing in so many things that I've struggled with for years. I've been praying so hard for these things and I'm finally getting answers. 
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8
-E


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