Izzy says this is like experiencing freshman year all over again. There are new people in a new place, and even old friends don’t seem quite the same. There’s a rush to build relationships in these two weeks that will determine the overseas experience. A lot depends on being in the right place at the right time.
For introverts, this is a problem.
The free day is an excuse to be a complete hermit. I walk downtown by myself (sorry, mom and dad) while listening to Of Monsters and Men’s old album, “Beneath the Skin,” and let myself splurge on Starbucks which I try not to do terribly often.
I watch a cheesy rom-com by myself on the blue couch in our apartment, sipping my drink and munching pretzels. This may not have been the best idea, as it stirs up a lot of old heartaches that leave me feeling empty and betrayed.
Golden hour demands a slow stroll around campus with my camera, my eyes on the ground for anything interesting. Along with the photos included below, I stumble across a family of bunnies that steal my entire heart the moment one bounds across my path. I’d watched the parents prepare their home all of last semester, and to finally see the little ones is a joyous occasion.
After listening to me ramble about my sadness (again), Maddie convinces me to emerge from the apartment and go join her and a few other friends next door. I do so reluctantly, taking along all pieces of technology in case I need to curl into a corner and pretend I’m not there. But they draw me in, and before I know it real laughter escapes its depressed prison in my throat and dances on my lips. It’s a beautiful sound. I’d forgotten what my real laugh sounded like, so accustomed was I to the fake one that laughed so as not to feel left out.
This laughter feels safe.
Silence and solitude are scary. That’s when all the difficult thoughts come. That’s when we process old hurts. Silence can be a very lonely thing.
Mattea gently reminds me that facing the pain is necessary for us to grow and move forward. Suppressing the pain will only make it harder to bear, and we must learn to sit in the limbo between chapters and just exist there.
As I sit here writing this, slaving over the words more than I should be, I keep thinking the light bulb reflecting off my laptop screen is a gingerbread man.
I think it’s time for me to go to sleep.
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