Friday, September 16, 2011

Studying Abroad

Ahhh the lovely Ireland
 One of my required courses in college is an Experimental Education course where you look into different "engagements" and explore the options that are open to you. As part of the overall points (....this course has 3 parts that run your entire schooling career) you have to plan, propose, and follow through with an idea. It could be something local or you could get really brave and go elsewhere.But, you have no direction. No rules. You have to decide. So to get started, the instructors what you to become familiar with whats available to you. So they have these "engagements" that you study one at a time. The first one unlocked today and it is the Global Engagement Module. In this module, you have to study the options that are guessed it....globally. As I was researching, I couldn't help but feel a little sting of pain that I will most likely never get to experience going international.
I had the opportunity to do European tour as part of the Ambassadors of Music that I got nominated into in high school. That would've been my dream. The summer before my senior year, I attended the big announcement of that tour and I was determined to come up with the $1200(ish...can't remember exactly) to be able to go. However...that is also the summer I stupidly got pregnant and missed my senior year, graduating early at the adult education school. Obviously, international travel is frowned upon when pregnant, so that was a dream that flew away.
Do I resent having kids? Not in the least. I love my kids more than anything and I wouldn't trade them for the world. However, there are times that I wonder how my life would've been different had I followed the more "normal" path of life that one generally leads. What would've happened had I gone to Europe? How would my life be different had I gotten to attend my senior year? I missed out on prom, and pretty much every other formal dance during school. I missed the senior trip, painting the C, and loads of other fun stuff that happens when your a senior. I missed being a giddy little freshman at a new school experiencing "grown up" time and responsibilities. I also missed a missionary who I had written while he was on his mission...and who had come to see me when he returned home. Of course by then, I was married and had a baby. What would my life be like now had all of that worked differently than it did?
This brings me to studying abroad. As I mentioned before, a big part of this course is planning and actually accomplishing a goal. Which means that the resources for students who choose to plan their project under the Global Engagement Center are opened up and they will have the opportunities to complete their project. Some have gone to China to teach english, some to Africa for humanitarian services. Some just simply study a semester in another country for the learning and growth that it would bring to them personally. As I looked at the list of countries and universities that were partnered with SUU, that sinking feeling of what if came rolling back. What if I had waited on marriage and kids? What if I was just single little me with not a care in the world? I would totally be able to fulfill my dream of going abroad. One of the major universities that is partnered up is in Ireland. Can I just say that Ireland is one of my top 5 places to visit before I die? Another is in France. Yet another of my top 5 places to visit. And another? Italy. One of my top 3 places to visit before I die. I am feeling the ache of accepting the consequences of my actions.
Are those consequences for the most part wonderful and amazing? Of kids are the highlight of my day every single day. I miss them like crazy while I'm working and can't wait to see them afterwards...even if they do drive me crazy alot of the time. However...being responsible for their care and well-being prevents me from being able to just pick up and when opportunities like this are dangled in front of me I can't help but feel a little twinge of ache for what may have been. 

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