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Studying abroad in Senegal: Day 1

Monday, May 25, 2015

Author’s note: I know that blog posts are already pretty informal, but I’ve decided to be très informal with my posts about my time in Senegal and Ireland. A.K.A. they’ll probably sound like diary entries + they’re pretty personal, so je suis désolé. They’ll also be uploaded a few days after the fact (because wifi).

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ave you ever seen fireworks from above?

When you’re watching them from the ground they’re so magical. I always loved the ones that sparkled into little pieces, falling all around you like you’re lying underneath a willow tree of glitter. They look so high – so unreachable and untouchable – yet, I’ll admit, I’m always afraid a piece will fall on me and burn my skin.

From above, though, they’re so miniscule. I just watched multiple fireworks fluttering throughout Detroit while flying up into the air and heading toward Paris. They almost look as tiny as the houses that surround them, with endless lights illuminating the earth.

That’s what we do; we illuminate the earth (while also harming it tenfold).

I guess right now I’m kind of like a firework, a plane, or all those lights illuminating the ground beneath me. I want to do something big with my life. I want to be impactful and I want to make a difference. I may not really know how yet, but I know that I will.

Most people probably don’t know that I’ve been planning this trip since my freshman year at Ohio University. First, it was a semester in the beautiful south of France. Then, it was an entire summer in France practicing the romance language and exploring the gorgeous cities. After that, it changed to four weeks in Paris and four weeks in Dakar. Two different cultures, two different versions of French, and a taste of both Africa and Europe. What could be better?

Right now I’m headed to France, but not because it’s where I’m studying abroad. Instead, I have an insanely long layover in Paris as I await my flight to Dakar. Fate met me in the middle and allowed me to study abroad for four weeks in Senegal and six weeks in Ireland. A little taste of the U.K. and a little Afrique…what summer vacation could possibly be better?

I’m not quite sure what to expect, to be honest. The French language is already surrounding me and making me way too nervous. On the other hand, I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to expand my bilingual capabilities while traveling down the difficult road toward fluency.

My travels are really just beginning, as I still have about 23 hours until I reach my destination in West Africa.

Right now I’m kind of like that cool firework shooting up into the sky, but I haven’t yet exploded. I’ve finally made it, I’ve finally been lit on fire and let go and now it’s time for me to decide the details of my explosion – the colors, the patterns, the impact and, most importantly, whether or not I will come raining down, (positively) affecting the world below me like a willow tree.

I may already by 21-years-old but my life journey is really just beginning. From here, hopefully, my meaning will be found and my sparkles will eventually fall, disperse, and be used and spread amongst those that need them most.

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2 thoughts on “Studying abroad in Senegal: Day 1

  1. Debra Grilly says:

    I am so looking forward to your next post! Take good care, soak it all up, stay safe and share your sparkle!!!

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