Reverse Dog Years
At this point, it’s probably not a surprise to you twelve dedicated readers that Hannah and I sometimes leave writing these posts until the last minute. In fact, we’ve been banking pretty hard on the fact that the East Coast is five hours behind in order to get these posts out on time. At least, I have.
Somehow, it’s one a.m. here in Cork as I begin to write this entry. All hopes of Hannah being able to proof-read for me have gone out the window, as she’s an hour ahead of me and probably planning to get up early and do responsible-people-things. Things that people who start blog posts at one a.m. don’t do. Damn you, Hann.
The thing is, I didn’t mean to put this off until now. I always look forward to writing for the twelve of you, and since I’ve gotten to Ireland there’s never been a shortage of things to say. I mentally plan my post all week, jotting down phrases that keep turning up in my head. And I’ve got plenty of time to carefully craft and revise multiple drafts. So much free time, oceans of it. So why is this happening at 1am on this technically Tuesday morning? I have a few theories.
This semester is a worm-hole where time is elastic.
Somehow, I’ve been here for almost two months. When I got my schedule after the first week, I realized just how much free time I had and almost had a heart attack. There was so much free time. I had classes but no homework, no job, no responsibilities for any clubs, no homework. This place felt like summer camp, only rainier. I probably spent an hour each day wondering what I would do with all of my new free time.
You guys, I don’t know where it goes, but the time goes by in a hurry. You blink and a week is gone. You glance at the calendar and it’s already March. You tell yourself all day that you’re going to write this post, and then it’s 1 a.m. “I’ll see you next month,” Hannah told me the other day, “Which sounds like a lot, but that’s like 10 minutes in study-abroad-time.” And it’s true. We’ve taken to calling it reverse dog years.
Adjusting to a lifestyle of ample leisure time was tough at first. I didn’t realize how much I depended on being busy until I landed in a place where I didn’t have any time commitments. I felt like a lazy alien at first, but now I’d say I’m a pro at being unoccupied. So good, in fact, that having more than a few things to do plus classes completely puts me out. Last week I had to go to the grocery store and write a paper, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.
I’m not lazy all the time, though. Another theme I’m noticing about study abroad is that life seems to switch back and forth from opposite ends of a spectrum rather than finding a happy medium. I’m either having a relaxing week, getting plenty of sleep, or I’m flying to London at six a.m. on a Tuesday and running off of four hours a night. I don’t crack a book a month, then have an exam and an essay due within two days. I’m either starving or stuffed, overly prepared or a complete mess, but always aware of how lucky I am to be living this semester. I’m never too busy to slow down and marvel in the fact that I’m actually here.
So that brings me here. It’s approaching 2 a.m. now, and I didn’t get around to writing about anything that I had originally planned. Since I last wrote I’ve been to London, watched people eat gross things until they puked, and held a baby lamb. But another hour has sped by in reverse dog years, so I’m going to say goodnight to you all.