Home Sweet Home

Hey friends!

I want to share a quick update about how I’m doing. I’ve been home in the U.S. for ~2 weeks and it’s wonderful to be home. Due to bad weather I had to reschedule my flight back to Belgium twice which afforded me a few extra days at home.

I’ve felt deeply saddened by the thought of leaving home, but this isn’t Belgium specific. I love being home and spending time with my family and friends and I always feel sad when it’s time for me to leave, whether it’s to Belgium, Michigan, or Georgia. You’d think that I’d choose programs closer to home huh?

And the catch 22 is, I know I’ll be sad when it’s time for me to leave Belgium and move back to Michigan. In fact, part of me felt a twinge of regret that I was going home at all! Can you imagine?! The grass is always greener on the other side. I’ve got to appreciate where I’m at in the present moment. Why waste time being sad at home when that time can be spent enjoying home? Rather than being sad about leaving Belgium, I should commit myself to living the best life I possibly can abroad so that I have no regrets when it’s time for me to go. And let’s be real, I’ve been having the time of my life.

I’ve got to remember that these places aren’t going anywhere and they’ll always be here.

I’d like to share an anecdotal story that really made me stop and smell the roses, learn to appreciate life for what it is.

Yesterday, I was supposed to fly back to Brussels (this was after rescheduling a cancelled flight due to bad weather). I had a little chat with myself were I basically said I wanted to stay home and I didn’t want to leave. Be careful what you wish for! Whatever you focus on (whether you do or don’t want it) will manifest in your life. So, right as we’re about to leave, I get an alert that my flight is delayed due to bad weather, which would subsequently make me miss the only connecting flight to Brussels for that day. Long story short, I spent three additional hours waiting to see if I could find another flight, if I would be able to make my connecting flight in case it too, were delayed. So at this point, it’s 6:00 pm. And I remember reflecting on the fact that I asked God/the universe/myself for extra time at home, and that’s exactly what I got! Yet, I spent the 3 extra hours  at home stressing about getting back to Brussels, the place I didn’t want to go to – lol. So then I thought, wow Cheech. You got the extra time you asked for and squandered it away by stressing about something you asked for. I was legitimately bummed that I wasted those few extra hours at home. Then, at the last minute, I was able to rebook my flight for another day (tomorrow). I felt like I hit the redo button and got a second chance to appreciate my present circumstance. This time around, I made sure to embrace my extra time at home and not engage my thoughts about not wanting to leave. Last time, I thought I had to do something about how I felt, but I didn’t. All I had to do was watch the thoughts, meditate, and let them dissipate. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Yes, I still feel sad about leaving but I’m positively affirming that I am ready for a speedy flight back to Brussels and I look forward to crushing the rest of my Fulbright/BAEF grant. In conclusion, the grass is greener on the other side and where you are. Appreciate the present moment and pray/meditate/ask/w.e. it is that you do for guidance to manifest what’s best for you. And remember, your word shall bear fruit.

Soooooooooooooooooo…anyway…. What do I have planned for the New Year?!

It’s (always) crunch time in the lab. I give my first lab meeting this month, I have my Fulbright mid-year meeting in the beginning of February, and I’m attending a week-long Fulbright EU-NATO seminar at the end of February, yayyyy! 1-2 Fulbright grantees to each country in Europe are selected to attend a 1 week seminar in Belgium and Luxembourg about the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – not gonna lie…I just looked up the NATO acronym. I’m looking forward to the seminar and I’m proud of myself for being selected to attend :). I’ve got to say, it’s definitely one of the highlights of my year.

Lab wise…things are well! (positive affirmations lol). My research advisor wants to publish a paper on my project ASAP *no pressure* ::hyperventilates:: JK … it’s all good. This is what I’m here for! I feel the pressure to produce positive data. I’ve been working hard but I have some serious deadlines and an amibitous schedule for the coming weeks. Basically…by March, we’ll start writing the paper *gasps* Let’s pause for a moment and give thanks for the opportunity to work on a high impact project. Sometimes you have to look at your challenges through a different lens and see them as the blessings they are.

Uhmmmm…what else? I’ve got 6 months left in Europe! I am shockingly looking forward to returning to Michigan to start my Ph.D. program *famous last words*. I’m gonna be a doctoral student. Trust, I’m gonna sprint to Instagram so I can write “Doctoral Student”#WADDUPDOEEEE Dr. Ukachukwu in dis thangggg.

So that’s it:  presentations, seminars, mid-year updates, homesickness, appreciation. I am fortunate.

With Love,



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