Allison, outbound to Czech Republic

Now that the big climax to any European exchange is over and gone, an odd feeling is left. I have seen and done so much and I've been here for what is nearing nine months but it all feels like a dream. Even in the moment. Even when standing atop the Eiffel Tower, or in the Colosseum, or on La Rambla in Barcelona, it feels surreal. It's something akin to what F. Scott Fitzgerald describes in The Great Gatsby as a feeling of being "within and without." It feels as if everything I have done is merely a fact like the ones you read in your high school history textbook. But looking back, even though it feels like facts from a textbook, they're part of my own fairytale. A fairytale with ups and downs and unfortunately an end. That great long awaited trip of my year was possibly the best two weeks of my life. Two weeks crammed into narrow hostels in great cities, sharing food, naps in the sun and countless hours and miles of walking and riding in a bus with the seventy plus people that I am so lucky to know. Even the feelings of temporary discomfort and anxiety that arose are precious memories. And now all of this has me in a state of "now what?" I am nearing the end of this chapter in my life and I am determined to make these last times the greatest and to keep the goodbyes that will be inevitably said as far from permanent as possible.

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