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University of Missouri

Forgive yourself… often.

Filed in Blog, Czech Republic by on February 4, 2019
by Emily W.

I started my semester abroad in Prague, Czech Republic a month ago. Actually, it was just under a week ago, but my lack of sleep had drawn out days and nights to culminate into one large confusing lump of time.

I had every intention of doing this whole jet-lag thing right, after all, I have traveled abroad to Europe before. I knew I needed to sleep on the overnight flight across the pond and upon arrival in Prague. I was prepared for bed by 7 p.m. so that I could wake up by 7 a.m. receiving a full twelve hours of sleeps before a long first of orientation and exploration. I took a shower, lathered myself in lavender essential oil and laid my head on the pillow by 7 p.m., just as planned.

Yes, okay. Head on the pillow. Yup. Fall asleep now. Nooooooow. And now! Now?

About fifteen minutes had passed, and my roommates who climbed into bed around the same time had already succumbed to a light snore and stillness. I, on the other hand, became restless, distressed with the idea that I might not get enough sleep tonight and anxious with the thought I might not get enough sleep tonight and anxious with the thought that I might never adjust — mentally, physically, emotionally. I got out of bed each hour and walked around the apartment before I decided that THIS was it.

THIS time I was going to fall asleep. You got this, Emily! THIS is your time!

The above routine was repeated about seven times before finally getting asleep at 3 a.m. I woke up anxious and upset. Why couldn’t I fall asleep like everyone else? This wasn’t how I had planned it out! My brain had been exhausted, but my body wasn’t.

The next several nights looked a lot like the first. Each time, I got out of bed less, but consistently could not sleep until 3 a.m. Now, on day six, I’m tired of being frustrated and I’m choosing to learn how to forgive. Forgive my body for not working the way I wanted.

Forgive my ego for creating the perfect plan. And forgive my whole self for not appreciating my personal and unique adjustment.

Frustration got me nowhere. It caused pain and distraction. I missed out on things that I would have otherwise appreciated because I was preoccupied on trying to plan another method to prepare myself for sleep. It was time to ditch that and move forward.

Forgiveness is the first step in moving forward. Whether it is someone who hurt your feelings, or an expectation was not met, and especially when things do not go as planned, we must forgive. When studying abroad, you do not have the control you are used to in the United States. You are stripped bare of comforts you didn’t even know you relied on. You have to keep moving forward; you have to forgive yourself.

A view of sunset coming over a skyline of houses and small buildings from a large bay window.

Sunrise after my first “sleep” in Prague, Czech Republic.

About the blogger

Emily W. studying abroad on the CEA: Full Curriculum in Prague program in Prague, Czech Republic.

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