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"Better than Fine"

July 9, 2018

I had quite the picturesque afternoon last Thursday.

After some long hours in the office, I receive an email about something-or-other, which importantly mentions at the end how nice the weather is today and how it’s a shame to be cooped up in the office. Not having been outside all day, I hadn’t even thought to check. My window faces a narrow alley with little-to-no sunlight exposure. So, I took a break and walked over to the little outdoor campus coffee shop, grabbing a latte and some pear-raspberry bread. I laid down on the grass in the warm sunlight next to the old-school buildings, and just soaked it all in.

This is now my favorite memory I’ve made on this trip. It was quite simple to initiate, given it was the last few hours of my work week, required less than $10, and was all my own. Simply losing track of time a bit and getting the chance to reflect on my experience here made me think about what tools I’ve used to recover and learn. Part of that, is feeling home.

I feel as though I found what grounds me. Being away from home makes you question what home really is. I don’t really know what “Home is Where the Heart is” really means. But maybe what I found to be home is something similar. For me, home is: the advice that all my family members give, the giggling about silly things that I’ve done or that happened to me with my friends, the books that I read, the music that I listen to, the movies that I watch, and my favorite things to eat. This list sounds a bit materialistic, but that’s not quite what I mean. Home is an emotion, and these things connect me to what’s important. I don’t know if the emotion is specifically nostalgia, because it’s not always sad, but it’s something similar to it. It reminds me of my values—the aspects of my life that combine mysteriously to form who I am, and who I want to be.

I reached that feeling of home sitting out on the lawn with the light hustle-and-bustle around me. I felt centered, and able to achieve anything I wanted to halfway around the world. It was extremely refreshing, and I highly encourage anyone who finds themselves either too busy this summer or entirely bored, to venture out and treat themselves to a little snack  nearby, sitting outside (if it’s not terribly humid, hopefully in some shade) and reflecting a bit. It’s the reflecting that I’ve been doing when writing blogs and talking out what I’m going through with my friends and family that’s been getting me through going abroad. Reflecting is my weapon, my tool, and my solace. It’s when life isn’t jumping so far ahead that I can’t understand or see it. I have the time to catch back up, and process what I’ve experienced and how I’ve changed.

Listen to Fiona Apple’s “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” if you’d like to know a little better what I mean without feeling the urge to roll your eyes at my cheesy writing.

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