Every choice that I make changes the course I take.


Louvain after WWII
About two years ago, I graduated our highly esteemed community college (locally known as Ghetto Tech) with an Associates Degree and had to make plans for my B.A. - At the time, I highly marketed the concept that Shannon and myself transfer to K.U., an university in Louvain, Belgium (20 miles south of Brussels). The university, a Catholic one, was merely an "escape hatch" for me from the U.S., and remains one of the few universities in Belgium that takes U.S. financial aid. Needless to say, because of the complicated nature of our lives, and a bit of psycho-centrism on Shannon's part (not to mention we had no clue how to ship a 70 lb Labrador abroad), we decided to stay in the (good-ole) United States for our B.A.s. There was a compromise though: I would study abroad for a semester in Belgium...

...and that's exactly what I did. In the Fall of 2012 I attended Vesalius College via the ISEP program and the IPC at UNCG. While there, I traveled, got involved in the community, volunteered with a NGO, and fed the local homeless. In essence, I created a new life for myself there, and by consequence became someone else. It was an experience, which if you haven't heard yet (read the site), that transformed me into a better person, and yet complicated my life beyond my expectations.

The truth is I didn't want to come home. It ripped my heart from my chest, and it took almost six months for me to get my head straight once I got state-side. I didn't feel American anymore, and coming back to fill the cookie-cutter mold which I had left in my absence would become my prison. I didn't know if my relationship would survive, or even that I'd survive. Some nights I just wanted to die.

Eventually the flash-backs subsided into an occasional emotional fit, brought on by the sounds of some song in the mall while shopping where I'd completely lose it, but for the most part, I made it through the storm. Enough time has gone by that I've settled back into my life and I'm ready to move on. It's time to let Belgium go and make new dreams.

Then this week, I try to get into this management abroad class that goes abroad during spring break. I'm not sure where, and I've already missed the deadline, but since deadlines never have stopped me before, I emailed the faculty in-charge. He kindly advises me that he will make me an alternative since I asked so nicely. So I fill out the paper-work, and he asks to meet with me. This normal part of the study-abroad procedure seemed vaguely familiar to me, however when I walked in the door I knew I was just an alternate.
We talked, I reminisced, and then he said something that really shocked me. He said "I'll send you a letter of acceptance as a formality, and you just need to confirm it back to me." What?- I thought in my head... did he say accepted? I walked out of his office, red in the face, about to cry, and I called Shannon. I couldn't believe this was all happening again. I was overjoyed. It was like winning the lotto.

Hours later, I received an email with the subject: You're going to Belgium.

Where?

Louvain.

Sure it's only a week, sure it's going to be crazy, but I am so ready for every second of it.

This is not going to be a re-load of past adventures, it's going to be new faces, new places, and me back home where I belong. I can't wait to begin all over again.

If I happen to bump into my old life while there, lets just pretend its forever, and enjoy the short time we have.

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