It's hard to be away from friends and loved ones for a five-month study abroad. I've been in London, England for nearly four months now, and I struggle with the distance between me and one other at home in Florida.
I know that if you study abroad you'll struggle with the same loneliness.
You'll sit in airport lounges or train stations and miss how happy they make you. Walks through the park will be free of distractions and your bed will be cold.
You call home often, but they never answer the phone.
Eating alone, you'll sit with a drink and miss their loving looks during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You'll want to send postcards home with every weekend adventure, but it's hard for them to understand.
It's hard for them to understand the loneliness you feel abroad.
Why you ask?
Well, because the one you'll miss the most during your study abroad is your dog. I miss my dog, Hobo (I was twelve when I named him, okay), the most.
Hobo is a nine-year-old beagle-lab-coonhound mutt with a severe case of narcissism and a sweet tooth. Like myself, Hobo is a smart blonde with an unhealthy craving of all things chocolate. He doesn't get to go to the beach as much as he wants, and he thinks the world revolves around my mother (he isn't wrong).
I haven't seen him since January. Our goodbye consisted of me packing my suitcase on my bed hours before my flight while he repeatedly pouted, growled and kicked my bag as he stretched across the mattress.
We've tried to move our relationship to Skype, but he really can't find time to sit down and bark with me. My mom has me on FaceTime and chases him around the family room with her phone out while I call his name.
I want a deployed-soldier style greeting from my dog when I return home in June. I want him to jump around and howl when I walk in the door like some Army golden retriever would after seeing his owner again in over eight months. I want a reaction so emotional and ecstatic from my dog that older women tag their friends under our viral reunion video on Facebook. He could even pee a little from excitement, but I know he's too proud to do anything like that.
I miss my dog so much I think about taking a cardboard sign to the park that reads: "Sad American - Four Months No Dog. Will Pet Your Pup!"
I can only hope he misses me, too. Though, I am suspicious he's moved into my empty bedroom and accepted life as my mother's only child.
Check back in a few months to see our reunion video!