thirty-five days.

though my revamping of 7 days around the balkans is not over, my time abroad is, and for this reason, it felt appropriate to have a post that summed it all up.

that’s been the hard thing though- summing it all up.

the 35 days that i spent abroad are collectively among the best of my life thus far. compared to the amount i paid for this trip, what i got out of it feels like I got the best deal on earth. not only did i get to visit 7 different countries, study with some of the most intelligent profs, visit areas of incredible historical context, and pet COUNTLESS dogs – because these were all key parts to this incredible experience – but what i really gained is not as easily summed into words.

i gained perspective. i gained the ability to look at this world around me and appreciate simple beauty in unexpected places. i gained the ability to look at the last 35 days and, though it breaks my heart that it is over, it also makes my heart burst with happiness to think how incredibly lucky i am to have experienced what i did.

as well, i gained friendship. in every post i’ve written about how the people on this trip are truly what made it for me, and in this post again i will stand by that. at the end of 35 days, leaving people who had unexpectedly taken up huge parts of my heart was literally heart wrenching. in the last 35 days, i’ve gained some of the purest relationships i’ve ever known. i’ve learned what it is to truly live in the moment and give up control for just long enough to really feel. if you have never done this, and are presented with the opportunity, do it. it’s hard to describe the way in which my heart hurts now as a result of this, but it would be impossible to regret it. vulnerability is something that i have gained a new appreciation for following the last 35 days.

i knew going in that this trip was going to change me. this is to be expected when all you have ever know is small town in iowa and within 35 days you are entirely immersed in all things new. but i had no concept of how much it was going to change me, or how permanently.

for 35 days, i got to experience something so entirely special that it’s impossible to truly describe in words. i got to experience something that makes my heart wrench so terribly as i write this, because i already miss it so much, but that i am so incredibly thankful for.

scrolling through my social media yesterday i ran across a post and it resonated with me when i thought about it in relation to the last 35 days.

it read: it’s hard when you miss something. but if you miss them, it means you’re lucky. it means you had something special in your life. something worth missing.

and i feel beyond special to have experienced who, and what i have in the last 35 days. kosovo & the people i met there hold a place in my heart that won’t be going away any time soon. this does not just include the friends i got to share this program with- but Beznick at the hotel, Daut who makes the BEST macchiato’s in the world, Erol, Elda, Engin, Mark, Mjellma, Albina. Thank you to you all.

always see you laters, never goodbyes. faleminderit.

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