One year can either feel like a split second or a lifetime, but I can’t recall any years that felt like both at the same time. Either way, I cannot believe that one year ago I boarded a plane and left my family and country behind.
When I look back at who I was when I boarded that plane, I am in no way disappointed. I admire the girl who had the courage to follow her dreams, and the foresight to plan for the worst. But if I could talk to her, there is no doubt that she would stand in awe of what my everyday life has become.
So, to help myself realize how far I have come, I present to you a quick little video. It’s a list of everything that was a new experience, a goal I achieved, a new adventure, and pretty much anything else that I think my younger self would find noteworthy:
It is impossible to say that I haven’t grown as a person in the last year and a huge part of that growth is because of the intricacies of learning how another culture thinks and operates. It’s really indescribable; literally having every experience in a day be a new challenge and an opportunity to learn. In a way it’s like returning to childhood where every day there is a first; a first step, first word, first friend, first day of school… you get what I mean.
But unlike our experiences as children, we get to relearn how to do everything with a lifetime of experience and breadth of knowledge at our disposal. I think that this is either where people sink or swim when faced with adversity. Either they find that balance between drawing on previous experiences and remaining flexible enough to try something new, or they don’t. When you strike that balance, the world truly opens up and you can see the possibilities as never before.
The world seems so much more accessible to me now that I have been able to adapt to living on a new continent. I look towards the future and have no idea what’s in store and where I might go next and it’s exhilarating.
Of course I miss home but home is also not so defined in my mind anymore since my parents move pretty regularly and my friends scattered around the world after graduation. Mostly I just miss my parents, my animals, and the few close friends I have gathered over the years.
One of the funniest things that I miss is the quiet and stillness of living in the middle of nowhere. I miss the dessert and the wheat fields and the occasional coyote. But, as with all things, it’s a trade-off.
I am grateful for the friends I have made here. Each one of them opens my mind to a new way of seeing the world and pushes me to be a better person. I am already sad for the day when we have to part ways and join the “real world.”
While one year has passed, I am counting on many more to come on this crazy adventure abroad. We never know what the future holds but I plan on rolling with the punches and seizing every opportunity that comes my way. So, cheers to another great year!
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