They say that studying abroad will change your life- that in some way, it will change who you are. This challenged me when I was in Europe. I constantly was attempting to measure myself to see if I was, in fact, changing. I was learning, that's for sure. I was rapidly learning about myself from the strengths of leading trip planning and finding my way around to the weaknesses of traveling with big groups. I was learning how I like to process and rest. I was learning how I work in uncomfortable and unknown situations. And most importantly, I was learning about a world that existed completely without "I". A world outside of my realm, but one I got to visit for eight beautiful months. So as I flew home in May, did I think that Europe had changed me? I was unsure.
It's been 7 months, just about the length of time I was there and I am realizing that everyone was right, abroad does change your life. BUT, you really don't start the evolution of change until you get HOME. Who knew?
Here's my theory. Every element of this sentence is true but it is chronological. You go abroad, THEN you change. It doesn't happen while you are abroad. You don't come home a completely different person because you traveled for eight months. I argue that the real changing, happens when you get home as you begin to move forward back in your own element. That's when you've realized a change. That's when you develop and apply new perspectives.
To me, abroad was like the highly increased hunger of a seventeen-year-old boy about to grow six inches and develop some shoulders. I consumed massive amounts of culture, self-knowledge, relationships, and simple discovery (and yes food, but you already know that) in Europe, and now, at home, I find I am in the midst of a massive growth spurt. I, like the teenage boy that is finally getting some height, am finding a new stride rooted in the discoveries and self-confidence found in Europe. I consume social psychology and business memoirs like they are chocolate chip cookies and have been day dreaming even more than usual. I dress more myself than I ever have before and do what I want to do with my time paradoxically making me more productive. I'm not hard on myself anymore for feeling sad or embarrassed sometimes but let my emotions roll knowing that logic will win out in the end. I listen to music with really good lyrics. And sometimes I don't. Life is rich.
I'm more myself than I ever have been. It's been the hardest and best and to be honest I'm still a hot mess and still just trucking along. But I'm growing.
I didn't utilize this blog as much as I should've abroad because I had such a high standard of what I thought I could write about. But I've evolved since then and have found writing to be my love language in many ways in addition to the way I process. So welcome to the new blog. The blog of a 21 year-old just trying to figure it out, fully aware that I never will. Some posts won't be conventional, and I'll probably disagree with most of them in a few years. But, isn't that the point? To grow and learn, but to express yourself fully at every stage? Enjoy every part of the ride?
So cheers to words and the process and to you for caring enough about me to take the time to read this.