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There are so many things I could be writing about like my epic fail of a ski weekend in Les Diablerets (it was a fail because I was terrible at skiing), or how great the conference on Palestine was, or even how pretty the first snowfall in Lausanne was.

But I have so much more on my mind. It is the end of my first semester abroad and I survived. I did more than survive–I thrived. I am so much more open to the world and have made such strong relationships with fabulous people from all over the globe. My life and perspective have changed, I think, for good.

My Australian friend, Katharine, was only studying here for one semester and unfortunately it is time for her to go home. The reality of this hit me like a fresh wave of depression, like the kind of depression you get when you suddenly remember your mortality.

Katharine is really special–she keeps everyone sane, diffuses situations, she sees multiple layers of people rather than just the one they decide to show. Exchange life is going to be so different without her!

And it got me thinking–how are our lives defined? By the people we know? By our passion? By the places we have been? This will be the third Hannukkah I have not been with my family and I haven’t slept in my childhood bed in four months–does this mean I am a grown up now?

My friends are now scattered all over the world, I am 20 years old with no idea what direction to take my life in, and the nagging fear of being “stuck” is always there. I feel so lost but so lucky at the same time–why?

With growing pains and a little cash, it’s time for an adventure away from this adventure. In this next month I will write a letter to Juliet in Verona, drink Guinness in a Belfast pub, have lunch with the Queen in London, write in a café in Paris, see my parents in Rome, and touch history in Berlin.

Ciao, Lausanne!