• Joelle Otterstedt

Devastated but Thankful

I was already expecting this month to be the craziest of my life, but it turned out to be crazy in a completely different way than I thought it would. Just a month and 3 days ago I was studying abroad in York, England. Between five and six weeks ago, I was still expecting to go on a three-week spring break trip around Europe. Sadly, those plans got destroyed within a matter of days. On March 12th, the study abroad students were starting to realize how big of a deal the Coronavirus was. At this point, my Uni in England wasn’t helping and just told us they were “business as usual”. On March 15thI was at my parent’s house in the U.S.. I thought I would be in Rome right now, but instead I am here.

I am heartbroken that I will not be able to finish my time studying abroad and get to go on this trip around Europe. I spent countless hours planning the trip. It would be the biggest trip I had ever been on. Being in England and getting out of my comfort zone was helping me overcome my anxiety. It was my dream trip. I won’t be able to afford it again for ages.

While I am devastated that I am missing out on an incredible opportunity, I am so incredibly thankful to have made it home safely to my family.

I know how terrifying it was to try to travel home during the beginning of the pandemic and not know what to expect on the journey. I know some people were stuck away from families for a long time or forced to pay for an expensive private jet to get home. I am just thankful that I somehow made all of my connecting flights and got home.

I am thankful there were flights to my home.

I’m thankful I had a family that could help me pay for the expense of getting home at the beginning of the pandemic.

I’m thankful I got home before there was a travel ban on the UK.

I’m thankful I didn’t have to wait in the 9-hour long lines in some airports the day I got home.

I’m thankful my boyfriend and I made it through our 14-day quarantine feeling fine.

I’m thankful for all of the healthcare workers that are doing everything they can to treat patients.

I’m thankful for all of the other essential workers that are risking their lives going to work.

I’m thankful for the videos of people spreading positivity during this scary time.

I’m thankful that I have my boyfriend and parents to keep me entertained while we have to stay at home.

I’m thankful my parents can support me when I am unable to get a job.

I’m thankful I got the opportunity to study abroad, even if it was cut short.

I’m thankful I explored other towns/cities in England.

I’m thankful for all of the professors working hard to make sure they give us the best education they can.

I’m thankful my mom has an old sewing machine, so I could make some people masks.

I’m thankful my parents have a backyard, so I can go outside and still stay safe.

I’m thankful they kept all of the puzzles and board games from when my brother and I were kids.

There are so many mixed emotions right now. While I am devastated about what I missed out on, I am so incredibly grateful for what I do have right now.

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