Leaving Luther & A Summer Update

As I predicted, leaving Luther and moving back home has been really difficult. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like being back home with my family, I am enjoying being back at my job at Weld, Riley, and I love Eau Claire in the summer. But, the adjustment to ‘adult life’ after living in such a tight-knit community is very difficult.

I went from having my friends, my intellectual sparring partners, my professors, and my coworkers down to the hall, to having everyone spread out across the United States. And yes, we have modern technology to ease the transition but somethings just can’t be replaced by a text message.

The adjustment has made me wonder, what does the future hold. How do I take what made me happy at Luther and turn it into things that make me happy outside of Luther? And the even bigger question, how do I find new things, activities, people, etc. to find fulfillment in my life? How do I find happiness when I am lonely, how do I find happiness with myself? I think I will continue to explore these questions, this summer and into next year and the year after that. Maybe continually engaging with these questions IS the essence of happiness.

Right now though, I am dealing with the transition in true Betsy fashion: by filling my schedule so that I don’t spend too much time moping around.

Last week I began working at Weld, Riley again, which is a law office I worked for in high school. It has been great to be back, everyone has welcomed me with open arms. It has also led to some interesting reflections on my part about how much I have changed in the four years since I last worked in the office. I have more experience, I wear makeup now (sometimes), I hold myself with a bit more confidence, and I am much more willing to answer the phones. (which, 4 years ago, I hated so much I would have nightmares about)

I also have Wednesdays off. So, on Wednesdays, I study Ukrainian. And for the GRE. And write blog posts!

I have dove right into preparations for Ukraine. I spend my Wednesdays studying grammar and vocabulary until my brain starts to feel mushy (supposedly this is how you are supposed to do the language learning thing). While self-teaching is going okay, I am excited to start lessons with a teacher via Skype next week! I already feel bad for the poor soul who will have to fix my pronunciation!

The Friday before graduation, I received my placement University for my Ukrainian adventure. I am excited and anxious to spend next year in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine at The Kirovohrad Volodymyr Vynnychenko State Pedagogical University. Upon hearing this news, naturally, I have immersed myself in as much research as I can get my hands on about my future home. I have spent hours trolling around on the Google Maps street view, translating Ukrainian websites into English to gain little bits of information, looking at transportation routes in and out of the city, and trying to get a better understanding of the University I will be at. All the research gives me a new motivation for my Ukrainian language lessons-I want to be able to read the websites and I am realizing that being able to at least understand the language, will be very important.

When I get bored with Ukrainian though, I pull out my GRE book, write letters to my friends at camp, or read Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection (which I will probably write a blog post about at some point).

Simply put, the transition home has been difficult. But I am dealing with it in a (semi) positive way and Ukraine preparations are WELL under way. More to come in the coming weeks as I head to DC to meet the other Ukrainian Fulbrighters for my Pre-Departure Orientation and as I begin my Ukrainian lessons.

For now, I will leave you with a Ukrainian goodbye.  До побачення (do pobachennya)!

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