For example, I walk into the dairy section of the A&P with my Grandma, see that they sell Kerrygold butter (which is an Irish brand!) and start jumping up and down, saying in what would clearly be deemed an outside voice: “Oh my gosh! Look at this! Ireland has brought their butter to America!” A&P could have been selling that brand of butter for years, I’m sure, but I find it so amazing that just seeing the familiar gold wrapped rectangular block now means something more to me than just…well, shopping for butter.
Ireland has essentially followed me home–and not just in the workplace and grocery store! Yesterday, I went with my brother (who is looking at colleges-eek! I find this so scary for many reasons–and it is quite a strange feeling to go on a college tour as a rising college senior. I found myself constantly wanting to chip in about the college experience. I did refrain, though, don’t worry!) to take a tour of a college. Unfortunately, halfway through the tour, it started pouring rain, but, somehow our tour guides remained enthusiastic and incredibly informative as we rushed from building to building. At one point, one of the tour guides mentioned that she would be spending her Fall Semester in Ireland. I immediately turned to my brother and started commenting on how I just HAD to find out where she was studying and how happy I would be to answer any questions she would have. As I babbled on about this (in the pouring rain), I noticed I was getting some weird looks from the people in our tour group. If you know me, you know that I am quite short–just about five feet–and that I don’t really look my age, well, at all. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse my brother and I for twins, or assume that he’s the older one. As a result, I was not surprised to find that the tour guides often made eye contact with ME throughout the tour, and that when I told the girl I had just gotten back from studying abroad in Dublin, she was taken aback by the fact that I was a year older than her. “You’re just going to love it,” I assured her, as I could tell she was still trying to come to grips with the fact that I was actually not considering going to this particular school.
But, just as Ireland continues to confront me, the knowledge that I am home and returning to HC is equally evident. After the tour of this school, I stopped off at HC to meet up with many friends for dinner. To see everyone back in the place we all started, the place where we got to know each other, produced a feeling I can not possibly describe in words. Seeing Kelsey, Nora, and Amanda walk towards me outside of Kimball, I could hardly believe that the last time I had seen them it was in Spain, and before that, in Ireland; that I could now say “Meet you at Fenwick!,” rather than “Meet you at the airport!” And although my time with everyone was far too short, just to see their faces, hear their laughs, to go around and tell stories, not only (continuously) makes me realize how blessed I am, but also made me realize just how much of a home Holy Cross is.
It’s a strange–and unbelievably good– re-experiencing of everything: re-experiencing meeting up with everyone at Holy Cross, re-experiencing searching for the right college (even if not for me!), re-experiencing the beginning twinges of nervousness and excitement that precede taking that leap to study abroad through the feelings of someone else. And it kind of makes me want to break into Phil Collin’s “Look Through My Eyes.” (which may or may not be from the Brother Bear Soundtrack…)
And, somehow, all of that re-experiencing makes me feel ready to just plain experience what senior year on the Hill has to bring.