Posted By: MaevePapahus
Posted On: January 3rd, 2018
Attending: Institute of Technology Carlow

I am currently sitting back in my favorite Cafe in Carlow after a wonderful Christmas break spent home in New York.

Reflecting back on my journey here I can’t help but think about how I really have grown so much since August. Even the smallest things have affected me. At home I’ve always shared a room with my sister Caroline, and at Manhattan College I’ve always had a roommate. I learned to be in my own room and embrace it (I never thought I’d say this but I kind of like it). I got sick for a few days while here and I went to the doctors by myself for the first time ever! Yes, I know I’m 22 but my mom is my rock and she comes everywhere with me. Believe it or not I’ve never had to do my own grocery shopping in my life! At home, I always relied on my parents to cook for me (of course it was delicious), and in college I used the cafeteria meal plan for all my meals. Living on my own has left me to pick up groceries, cook, use public transportation, laundry, clean, etc, for myself. These small seemingly unimportant changes to some people (that might make me sound a little lazy) were a big step in life for me personally. I have become independent and comfortable with coming out of my comfort zone to learn new things, meet new friends, and become the person I want to be. It has also gave me a HUGE appreciation for all my parents have done for me. This journey so far has given me a purpose to be a mentor and role model to young children and prepared me to my goal in the next step of my life as I plan on becoming a Physical
Education teacher. I love the mission I am accomplishing here and it is something I will carry close with me throughout my life, “Sport Changes Life”. Sport has changed my life and I absolutely love being a positive role model to other kids hoping for the same results I have got through sports.

Being home for Christmas was exactly what I needed. To see my all my family members and friends I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I was home. I also got the chance to get some of the foods I missed from home! There are so many exciting things I got to experience while being home but heres a list of a few…

-I got to see my little sister Emma play in 2 high school varsity games
-Went to Elf on Broadway (I would advise people to go next year, it was so good!)
-Got to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
-Spent some quality time with my grandpas, Poppy and Da
-Christmas Day being spent at my house with my family, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles
-Going out to my favorite restaurant, Don Coqui!
-Being able to see Tyler’s high school jersey be retired
-Going to see Manhattan get there first MAAC win of the season against St. Peter’s
-Getting to see my old high school and college coaches
-Reconnecting with high school friends I haven’t seen in a while
-Eating Egg and Cheese bagels every morning
-Getting chipotle and sushi for the first time in a long time

Living in Ireland for a few months already has given me a new appreciation and outlook on life in general. The goodbye’s at the end of my trip is never easy but knowing I have a family member or friend coming just about every month is pretty cool! I love showing them how beautiful Ireland is and showing off my new home. Although it would have been nice to travel, I’m so glad I got to visit everyone for the holidays.

I returned to Carlow this morning feeling energized to finish out these last 5 months of my Irish journey. I know how fast this time can go so I am going to enjoy and embrace every second of it!

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