I needed a break. I’ve been stressed, homesick, and miserable to be around. In the last three weeks I have lost the chance to communicate with two people that I care about, and it is breaking my heart. This week for most of the students at the University of Edinburgh was Innovative Learning Week. Students have the week off from classes, and there are seminars and classes put on by the school on a variety of subjects. Even though I have an assignment due in a couple of weeks, I decided to spend learning week in Ireland. My feisty Texan had some research to do here, and I thought it would be fun to tag along. We got two of the boys to come along, and we’ve made quite the adventure of it. There have been times when I have been scared (driving on the other side of the road can be a bit hard to remember, and America doesn’t do roundabouts, so don’t even get me started on those), for the most part, this adventure has been just what I needed. The gang is keeping my mind off of the all of the horrible things going on in my life right now, and I needed.
I was amazed at how easy the traveling was from Edinburgh to Belfast. We did take two trains, a bus, a ferry and a cab, but everything was on time, relatively nice, and very scenic. I had so much fun figuring out where we needed to be next, and sitting with everyone chatting about nonsensical things. The day we left was sunny, and since it had been awhile since I saw the sun, I was very excited. We spent the first day in Belfast driving to the Ulster American Folk Museum. Jade had research to do, and while she worked, they boys and I walked around the exhibits. The museum was all outdoors. There were houses, schools, churches, a ship, and a trip to America within the walk. Even though the day was cold, the sun was out, the people were friendly, and I had fun trying to pet a goose, walking over ropes, and taking in the history of people who went from Northern Ireland to the Americas. I really enjoyed being outside in the fresh air, and getting to know the boys. When we left the museum we drove down to Dublin, and while I slept through most of that 3 hour journey, the boys got to have their Guinness, and we got to catch up with a lad whom we have become friends with. He took us to a really interesting pub and we shared a good laugh. I came back exhausted, but I was distracted and not sad.
Today was a day of sightseeing. First on the list: Giant’s Causeway. The causeway is made up of cliffs that were supposedly carved out by a giant named Finn. I don’t know the whole story (I wanted to go because it is on the beach), but it was the perfect day to be out in nature. We climbed rocks, picked up shells, enjoyed the deep sea air, and again enjoyed the conversation that can only be had when on roadtrips. We followed that up with a trip to the docks to see where the Titanic was docked, and to be honest, I was less than impressed. This city is obsessed with the Titanic, and the dry dock was huge, and impressive, but I don’t know if I needed to see it in person. We finished early for the day, and my tiredness and my misery caught up with me. Jade was nice enough to comfort me and give me little kick in the pants that I needed. I got some food in me, but shrugged off walking around the city so that I could stay warm and have some time to think.
I have a lot to think about it. My future is up in the air right now. I have no control over it though. I know what I want, and know where I want to be, but I am not sure that it will happen. I have been thinking a lot about what will make me happy, and what I can do to get those things, and to be honest, most of that is in San Diego. I am enjoying my time here and the places I have been and the people I have met, but I think what this whole adventure has provided me with is a picture of what will make me happy. Right now that is going to where my heart is, and being near my family. I started this journey with the intent to finish the PhD here, but now I know there is no way that I can be away from the people that I love most in the world that long. Suddenly, even finishing the degree in Fullerton no longer seems important. I have a knack for going to school. I have always been a student, don’t know how to really be anything else, and the thought of not being one anymore scares me. My identity has been defined as how I am as a student, what I am studying and where I going to school. I am afraid that if I stop that, I will no longer know who I am. These last few months though have changed that. I think now though I am ready to stop putting off growing up. I want to put down roots somewhere, be with the person who has my heart, and make my future my present. I want to start teaching and get started helping students learn how to write better. I want to settle into a routine with my friends and family. I want to get a dog and take it for walks and take it to the dog beach and let it run around in the waves with other dogs. I want good Mexican food and home cooked meals. I want to feel like an adult. I want to pay my own bills.
Tomorrow we will make the long journey back to Scotland, and I will have to go back to work on my final assignment first thing Saturday. I am hoping that the good feelings of fresh air, sunshine and a change of scenery will follow me home and I can pass the next few weeks quickly. I am going to work my damnedest to make things right with the people I hurt, and try to remember that my misery is the not fault of the people who love me and should not be acted out as such. Tomorrow I look forward to sleeping in my dorm bed and hiding in my room with some light fluffy movies and Harry Potter.