Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bittersweet surrender

Finals time always comes with a “let me be done!” attitude. The end of finals always signals the end of yet another semester, but this time I’m approaching finals with slight hesitation because this time they’re signaling the end of my study abroad. So, unlike most other finals which finish in relief and sleep deprivation, this finals week is coming to a very bittersweet end. I have one test left, a back pack left to pack, and itineraries and e-tickets to print out, but then I am off on 18 days of Euro-adventure round II. But, it also means that in less than 3 days, I will be saying good bye to the city that has become my home and the friends who have become my family in the past 4 months. Exciting? Yes. Sad? Yes…as I said: bittersweet.

So, now every time the desperate thoughts of “let me be done!” run through my brain, they are accompanied by “how is it this time already?!?” I will be clichĂ© and say that it feels like yesterday that I was sitting anxiously on the plane, imagining how the semester would turn out. Well, I feel it is safe to say that there is no way I could have anticipated everything that has happened this semester:

I ate dinner in a castle; went running in Venice during a storm; spent a night bar hopping with professional handball players; and drove a car in Italy. I practiced my Spanish (but butchered everything else); mastered and every budget airline site; waded through flooded Venice; and napped at the Eiffel tower. I had a bonfire at the Monterosso beach; tried grappa and lemoncello; drank beer with my Danish teachers; and had lectures at Oxford and the London School of Economics. I learned words like hygge and jordbær, conquered the metros of Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London; went on bar crawls, pub crawls, wine crawls, and coffee crawls; went to Ukrainian and Danish birthday parties; and shot a hand gun. I had a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt; got a Danish haircut; went to a funk show in Christiania and had Palm Sunday mass in Italy. I watched a basketball game in Kiev; got a rose from a polite Venetian; learned how to cook everything with oil, garlic, onions, and peppers; and celebrated 4 birthdays in one Skinderpalooza. I planned an impromptu trip to Amsterdam; had my first oral exam that wasn’t in a language class; went to a presentation about Barbie; and got very familiar with shopping in Copenhagen.

I went places I never heard of; did things I had always wanted to do; and made friends I will never forget. And while my friends are all counting down the hours until they are on their way back to our country where things are open 24/7, drinking laws are strict, and convenience is key, I still have 3 more weeks of adventuring. This means many more people, pictures, blogs, stories, mishaps and memories to be had…and although I’m tired and yearning for some peanut m&ms and a chipotle burrito, I’ll dry my eyes, wave good bye, and say hello to the next great trek.