April 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized
As the winter finally comes to an end, I am starting to be able to see the finish line of my journey here in Northern Ireland. Plenty of things have begun to fall into place for me in terms of life after SCL, but there are so many events and plans still underway to consume the remainder of my time here. Coursework and exam preparations have become hectic and we are in the midst of planning the biggest basketball tournament of the year for our team in April; the Intervarsities. I am still taking part in five different eHoops sessions per week, in addition to my coaching and community work activities. It wasn’t until about a week ago that I realized there would be an opportunity to go home for Easter, because I had a full week without any responsibilities. I bought the cheapest roundtrip plane ticket I could find and told my family I would be seeing them for an impromptu return home for the spring holiday.
Since I spent Christmas abroad, this was my first time returning to Philly for about eight months; definitely the longest I’ve ever been away. A giant homemade dinner was waiting for me as I walked through the door, and although my mom’s cooking was delicious, I still couldn’t wait to be reunited with my favorite Wawa mac&cheese and classic Italian hoagie!
Since this trip home wasn’t particularly planned or well-thought out, I hadn’t taken the time to notify all my friends of my return, and rather spent the week around the house with family. On my last day home we had a giant family party at my aunt’s house, and all my extended family members asked me a million questions about what it has been like to work abroad with Sport Changes Life this year. I couldn’t stop talking about all of the little phrases I’ve learned here as well as all of the unique aspects of the Irish/Northen Irish culture that I’ve noticed. I told them about what i do at eHoops, what it is like to play basketball in NI, and everywhere I’ve been able to travel throughout the year. The experience quickly made me realize that the time I’ve spent here in Northern Ireland is going to be something I’ll talk about for the rest of my life because it has truly been a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity.
The week flew by much faster than I thought it would, but for many reasons, I was happy to return to Belfast. Originally, I hadn’t planned to head home at all this year, but I’m so happy I did. After speaking with my family about my life here in Northern Ireland and witnessing all their reactions to it, things have really been put into perspective and I’ve been able to develop a new sense of gratitude that I can carry with me for the remainder of my time. With so little of it left afterall, (yet so much to look foward to), I’m feeling reenergized and excited for everything April has to offer.