As I sit here in my dorm room, overlooking the vast and indescribably beautiful hills that make up Treforest, Wales, all I can think of is how thankful I am for the friends and family I have in my life and everyone that made this trip possible. This should have been my first post, which is why I am posting it so close to yesterday’s post (or maybe I’ve realized I really like blogging), so please bear with me as I write another 1,000 words about Wales.
First of all, I need to thank my dear friend, teammate, and soul mate Caitie Danforth. I literally would not be sitting here right now with a Tom Jones song stuck in my head if it weren’t for her. This all started about a year ago when Caitie was planning her trip to Wales. The more she talked about it, the more I wanted to go. Though I chickened out and didn’t go the same semester she did (the Fall semester of 2014), she opened up my eyes to the opportunities that I have right at my doorstep.
Now I sit here in Wales one year later, my room full of gifts she left me. When I arrived on campus, I had instructions from her to go to the accommodations office and pick up a box that she had left me. At first, they said they didn’t have it. So that only left two possibilities of what happened:
1. They didn’t look hard enough.
2. Caitie Danforth is a liar.
After some serious thinking, I came to the conclusion that Caitie is not a liar – she has never lied about her love for Welsh corgis (which is the reason she came here, don’t let her fool you). So I went back down and finally got the box, after telling them to look for a box with my name spelled with a J-a, not a G-e, or a G-a, or a J-e. It’s J-a-r-r-a-r-d (my name being English, I figured I would have an easier time with it being pronounced and spelled correctly over here, but I was wrong).
Back in my room, I opened this small yet very heavy box of who knows what (cue Brad Pitt screaming “What’s in the booooxxxx!!!”). Inside was a survival kit and some goodies for my time here in Wales: hair straightener; hair dryer (I don’t know what Caitie’s trying to tell me about my hair…); adapters on adapters on adapters (so I can plug in the straightener and hair dryer to fix my hair); an extra pillow (for my nasty hair to rest on); an extra towel (to fold my nasty wet hair up in); and many many more items that I could not have lived without here.
So for that, Caitie, I thank you.
Next on the list to thank are my lovely lovely roommates, Alexis and Carol. Not only did they beg and plead me not to go, to stay in Charleston with them with my Taco Bell eating habits and constant Netflixing, but they also made me realize what true friendship is. And yes, I did just call you Carol, Carolyn (xoxo). I’ve only been away from them for a month and it feels like years. Anyone that has ever been in a room with all three of us knows that all we do is make fun of each other. It’s a great time. But, I know deep down whenever they make fun of my incessant love for Sour Patch Kids, they’re really saying “Omg I love you you’re the best person I’ve ever met why can’t I be you.” It’s truly heartwarming. So thank you, my noodle making freak and green bean lover for making me realize that it is very difficult to say goodbye for just a few months. But I am very thankful that I have something so hard to say goodbye to. Even if I did just make fun of you two for an entire paragraph – I did it out of love.
Next, I want to thank my lovely coach, Jacqueline (HEEEYYYYY!), for being so chill (for lack of a better word) with me studying abroad for a semester. When I told her that I had decided to leave, she didn’t even hesitate when telling me to go and follow my dreams. She made me not feel as guilty about leaving my team for Welsh corgis and afternoon tea. So thank you for that. And I am honestly terrified to see how she’s going to whip me back into shape when I get back.
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank my loving and ever supporting parents. They made this whole trip possible and taught me some lessons about myself at the same time. They were supportive from the beginning, but they left it up to me to get all of the paperwork completed and find out everything about the trip. I never realized that planning a study abroad trip was so difficult and time-consuming, but in doing so I learned independence and organization. I don’t know if that’s what my dad’s plan was when he told me to find out everything, maybe he just wanted to go watch a baseball game on TV instead, maybe it was a little it of both. But whatever he wanted me to do, it taught me just how organized and type-A I am. So thank you…?
My mom on the other hand was in constant “I need to get you everything you’re going to need while you’re over there” mode, asking me if I needed an umbrella, or gloves, or a hat, or five new purses. After I reassured her that they do indeed have umbrellas and gloves in Wales, she just stuck with the purses and hats. And so far they’ve been great, so thank you.
I am just so thankful to have the parents that I have. Not many people have the opportunity to travel the world, and not many people have parents that would let them. I have both, and I realize that I am one of the luckiest girls alive. So lucky, in fact, that my dad is coming to see me at the end of my trip for a week before I head back – 3 countries in one week, it’ll be like we’re on the “Amazing Race.”
When I was younger, my sister and I always begged our parents for a pony. My sister insisted that we could “tie it up in the back yard on the playhouse, we’ll take care of it and everything!” When we didn’t get a pony for Christmas, or our birthdays, or the next Christmas, we were furious. We held a grudge for years. But now, when we both asked to travel the world, our parents allowed us, my sister in Ireland, me in Wales. They gave me a gift way better than a pony – now I can travel the world and see Welsh ponies!
So, thank you to my parents and all of my friends back home for being supportive and jealous of me. It makes me feel great. And, Bridgette, thank you for the care package. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’m excited for when it does come.
And thank you to all of my readers – you just read 1,218 words. Rock on.