SPICE and the great wide somewhere

Tabetha DeGroot  Staff Writer

Adventure. In our American culture, this seems like the only thing worth living for. “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,” Beauty and the Beast told us as children. Life begins when our dreams come true, we’re told. Life begins when we get what we want. 

But what about when we don’t get what we want? What about when the “great wide somewhere” isn’t in the cards for us?

I got the email four hours away from the St. Louis, Mo. airport and 48 hours before I planned to arrive in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to cancel the 2022 SPICE program.” 

I doubted their hearts were as heavy as mine. I knew my plans could change at any time, but that didn’t soften the blow. 

This life-changing trip had been my life for over a year. When first considering it, I felt in limbo. I didn’t know if I wanted to leave everything I knew for four months. I never thought of myself as the “study abroad” type. But I went forward with planning anyway, and as the time to leave came closer and I got to know the other students, I felt ready. I felt called to go on SPICE.

But then this limbo turned into something outside of myself. I went from video chatting with my host family and preparing for travel, to sitting on my bed at home, unsure what to do next. 

Luckily for me, I live in a time where one’s world being ripped out from under themselves is a common occurrence. The C-word virus has made adaptability a necessity. A normal college semester? That’s so 2019.

So, what now? Rather than wallow in self-pity (which I would love to do, believe me) I’ve accepted I’m where I need to be. As amazing as a semester abroad would’ve been, I really can’t think of it benefiting anyone besides myself. Maybe this semester isn’t about me. Maybe it’s about something or someone else. 

I’m not saying everything is peachy. The next few months will still be hard. However, life isn’t about getting what you want. It’s about what you do with what you’re given. Life doesn’t begin with adventure in the conventional sense. I have grown, loved, been broken, and healed in Sioux Center, Iowa. 

I haven’t given up on “the great wide somewhere,” but for now, it can wait. Europe will always be there (hopefully), but college won’t be. There are friends and experiences now that I’ll only get one shot at. 

A bientôt Europe, from the other side. 

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