Leaving Groningen by Olivia Vyge

Groningen was a place I will cherish forever, and will be returning to visit as soon as life allows. A big hardship of leaving Groningen was knowing my friends and family would not be able to visit and experience the city like I was. As my father’s mother was born there, it was especially disappointing that he could not visit, and meet his cousins who lived there that I had become acquainted with. Although I consider myself very lucky to be able to return to my home country and quarantine in a safe and comforting place, I am equally as disappointed that my time “abroad” was cut short. A way I’ve been coping with the changes and uncertainty of the next few months has been appreciating all that I have to be thankful for and trying not to dwell on what I would be doing had this health pandemic not happened. I am appreciative of the time I got to spend in Europe this year. I spent the first month of the year staying with my grandparents in Dublin, Ireland. It is especially valuable time to me as they are now in complete lockdown there, and my grandparents are feeling especially isolated, as they are very used to having their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren at their house daily.  I am also appreciative of the first few days I spent in Groningen, where my study abroad was. My mother returned to Ireland at the end of the month of January to travel with me to Groningen. She and myself met our cousins there, and they made me feel especially welcome and even comforted when this pandemic started. The two months I spent in Groningen will be a wonderful memory that sometimes even feels like a weird dream I had! I am keeping in touch with the few friends that remained in Groningen, and as jealous of them as I am, I am also confident that my decision to return home was the right one.

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