2 weeks left

Well, the video is in the wrong format, and really it’s not worth the trouble of converting it. Suffice it to say my new apartment is very big, but still empty, and the kitchen has couches.

This afternoon I got sucked into helping Sheila in the marketing department, the woman who tried to help me with housing a while ago. She’s been working on the orientation schedule for the students who will arrive next Monday. Normally she has a student assistant, but not this summer, so she’s been swamped lately. A lot of it is just computer formatting battles, getting the boxes to fit in the right places and the pictures to not disappear behind said boxes. After about half an hour of trying to get a picture to move while answering nonstop phone calls, she finally just put me in her seat and said “change these colors, put these here.” Which I could do.

I settled on going to Schull tomorrow. It seems to be a good example of the west Cork wilderness, plus it’s still a busy fishing harbor with a strong art community. The bus I’m taking goes all the way from Cork to a town called Goleen, but most of the buses don’t go the entire distance, leaving me with exactly one bus to catch on the way home. Normally, though, I’m so terrified of missing the bus that I’m at the station half an hour early.

And on Sunday, I’ll be meeting with a blind student who’s doing her junior year abroad here. She has a guide dog, and university staff have been helping her get adjusted, but this is her first weekend here and she’s sort of on her own. We’ll just go out for coffee and give her dog a chance to run around at the park.

It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I only have two weeks left here. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting with my supervisor to go over my progress with the alumni association. On Monday, I’m meeting with UCC’s curator to talk about the history of UCC for a guide I’m working on for marketing. Next Friday I’ll be in London. The Thursday after that, Kevin will get here. Somewhere during that time I need to wrap up my evaluation essay (or at least get it to a point where I can finish it in the jetlagged week after I get back from France, poor planning on that) and pack a box to mail home.

Yesterday afternoon I sat in on the orientation for the outgoing Erasmus students. I’m pretty jealous of the Erasmus program, to be honest – geographically and institutionally, that kind of program is impossible for the US, but I think it has a huge influence on European students and the interconnectivity of Europe as a whole. For European students, learning another language (or two) is sort of a given – the German intern here speaks English and French, and even though she’s quieter/more shy than me (I know, right?), you can tell her English is a lot better than she gives herself credit for. Obviously it’s still a strain for any 20-year-old to spend 10 months or so in a different country, speaking a different language, maybe even more than American because home, for them, is only a 2-hr, 20-Euro flight away. But the impact it has on their career path here is pronounced, and students are much more likely to spend an entire year abroad as opposed to a semester, which is kind of cool. Fair play to them, as the Brits would say.

Anyway, the presentations were full of usual optimistic and encouraging quotes left by previous students – it was incredible experience, life-changing, I grew so much, etc. And it made me think (as I should probably be doing, seeing as I need to write an essay on this) about what I’ve achieved here. On one hand, I chose a relatively easy path – 10 weeks instead of 6 months in an English-speaking country. Being a mere intern, I haven’t accomplished anything revolutionary at work. I’m still terrified of introducing myself to the girls sitting across from me on the couch right now. But on the other hand, I incorporated myself into an office with 10+ staff members, to the point where they have done everything from cooked me dinner to lent me a DVD player to invite me to London; I’ve explored a new town almost every weekend; I’ve written a lot, which isn’t exactly the main goal of the internship, but it’s still important to me; and it’s given me plenty of time to think about what I want to do with my life afterwards. I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I’ve thought about it.

So it’s definitely been worth it. It’s been downright miserable at times but it’s also been incredibly freeing. Right now, though, I just wish I could get a better grip on how time is passing. Everyone has been telling me to savor the last two weeks, and yes, I will, but I feel like I’m in limbo right now. Waiting for a wave to break. Maybe when the calendar says September things will feel like they’re moving along.

Meanwhile, new freshmen start orientation at Linfield tomorrow. Class of 2013? When did that happen?!

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