So, today marks the 2 week countdown before I have to force myself on a plane to go back home. First let me say that yes, I am truly excited to go home and I am ready to see everyone but that being said in an ideal world I would be on a plane back to Dublin immediately following the holidays. I love everything about my life here. I’m independent, I’ve made my own “Dublin-family”, this city has become my home. This past week some of my family visited and I took them to some of my favorite places and told them all kinds of stories when we’d pass by something that struck a memory. Showing people around my new home has been one of my favorite parts of this experience, it reminds me of when I first arrived to Dublin and was getting lost constantly. It’s so fun for me to see my family/friends experience the city for the first time because I’m proud of where I live. I’m even proud to live in Smithfield, which is definitely a neighborhood that is an “acquired taste”. Dublin is an endearing place, it’s not the most beautiful, and certainly not the most “tidy” but it is the people who live there and the history that it holds that makes me the most proud.

I will miss this experience because it is such a big part of who I am now. Frankly I’m afraid to go home. Of course it’s a fear of the unknown (I’m graduating in May) and but I’m also so afraid that I’ve become so comfortable and so happy where I am that I won’t know how to be at “home” in Wisconsin any more.  I am more nervous for “culture shock” now than I ever was coming to Dublin in the first place. Everything will pretty much be the same when I get back except for me and that is such an uncomfortable feeling. I know I will adapt, because that’s how I made it on my own here but it is a fear none the less. The next time I will post will probably be when I am preparing to go home-ready, or NOT.  The good news is that for now I still have some time to soak everything in before I board that plane.

Amber Duerwaechter is studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, with the Foundation for International Education (FIE).