Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is It Really Over?

Is it really over? Yes, I am still asking myself that question. I have delayed this "wrap-up" post for a long time, and would still procrastinate it more if I could. My tendancy with things I really like is to leave them intact as long as I can. I use my favorite clothes less than I probably should and for greater events, I don't unpack myself because I don't want to believe I'm 'home', and I most certainly don't enjoy conlcusions-they seem so definite.

It has been almost two months since I've been back in the United States, getting used to the culture again, and figuring out how to deal with my 'homesickness'. Getting used to the culture is so strange. I watch people dance and think, 'that's so strange', or I see the way people interact to something and think that they are so 'out of the loop'. Also, I am proud of my accomplishments and my adventures and I am excited to talk about this huge part of my life but like the words of my sisters "UGGGH, again! well in brasil I...*mocking me*", people don't always want to hear about it. So I'm still trying to get used to when it's okay to touch on and how much I can share before people get sick of it. But the biggest and strangest thing is the homesickness. This homesickness is the hardest thing I've ever done.

I consider myself lucky. I spent 11 months and 10 days in Brasil and came home just long enough to realize that I was too independent to stick around until I was moving off to my apartment in Minneapolis to start college. It helps a lot that I have a huge support system both here and abroad rooting for me to be happy and my success, they all seem to believe in me more and be more willing to do what they need to help me out then I am to myself sometimes. The college experience has been a much needed distraction for a while, but I find that as my routine starts to make itself more concrete, I begin to start to feel 'homesick' even more often.

Dealing with this newfound homesickness has been hard since I set foot in Minnesota. I remember the pilot saying that we were approaching the Minneapolis airport and would be landing in 20 minutes. I looked out the window, saw a bunch of corn fields, and started bawling. The closer the plane got to the ground the more upset I seemed to get and the more emptyness took over. I remember walking down the hallway to the bagage claim all-teary eyed thinking that it was oficially over. Then of course I saw my family and the tears of joy came. It took a couple weeks to not tear up when I talked about my experience to people, especially when people looked at me knowingly and asked "so, hooow aree youuu?" and to this day if you catch me on a down day it's a very possible outcome. But I have found some wonderful outlets. I went skydiving the first week and a half back to add some excitement and I'm trying new activities and new foods. I am taking more credits than normal freshmen, so I put a lot of time into my studies, especially my Portuguese and Global Studies classes, I've joined Rotex and have been trying to participate as much as possible and reach out to inbounds, I've joined groups on campus-some dealing with Global studies and some that just meet to play ultimate frisbee, I try to have company over and go out because the more I put myself out there the more I'll get out of it, and I want something similar to what I had on my exchange. I don't want the happiness, the outgoingness, and the willingness to fade away. I got the chance to talk to Marcia Gerdin-my country officer when I was going through orientation-a few times since I've been back. I feel like she has been one of the most influential and helpful people. I will never forget the advice she gave me after the Rebound Orientation on the boat ride. She told me to let the wave of homesickness hit me full force, to take the time to cry, to listen to my music, to wear my clothes, to paint my nails, and to eat my food. I have done this and I still do, it seems to help me immensely and it's both comforting and scary to hear that this emptyness and wave of homesickness will hit me for the rest of my life. My exchange never will truly be over, today I'm just me on exchange to a different city where I'm studying at a University, after that I'll just be me, on yet another learning experience and a different phase in life. It's never going to be over, this is something that was embedded in me, the mindset, the way of life, and it isn't something that I'd change even if I could.

So all in all, I'm doing good. I'm content with where I am in life and even more excited for future plans which will surely lead me on even more adventures. I would like to thank Rotary because it would not have been possible without you. My host club, my host district, my district, and my club (WOO, go Northfield :) ), I am so happy you entrusted me with this opportunity because it has brought so much joy and understanding to my life. Thanks for taking care of me in all the phases of my experience! A HUGE thank you to my parents because I can't imagine how hard it was to give up their child to strangers for a year and hope that everything turns out well, and also to my siblings who I'm sure missed the help with homework, the car rides, and the company (at least I like to hope so ;P). If you love something set it free...and that's what you did, and I will never be more grateful for that. And of course another gigantic thank you to everyone that took me into their homes and into their hearts, it means the world to me.

Thanks for reading my blog and keeping up with me!! Thanks for giving me your time, remembering me, and at least deeming me a little bit important! It has been a good time, and even a better time hearing about how my blog reached and effected people that I never would have expected. So once again, thanks so much! Your support means a lot to me!

So with that being said... my bags are unpacked, I've started the next phase of my life already, and I have no certain planned return, so... is it REALLY over? ... ... ... no, it never is, not really anyways.

Até a próxima!