I have been home now for about a week. I am drinking a morning smoothie while looking out at the chilly, rainy Seattle weather. I cringe as the cold penetrates my skull and I am temporarily paralyzed by a brainfreeze.
I’m not feeling this shock from just the smoothie, however. Even prepped with prior experience, and knowing what to expect, it’s not uncommon to feel a little disoriented after returning home from study abroad.
For me, study abroad felt like living in a snowglobe. Responsibilities faded away, and I was left to enjoy a period of time where every day felt like the weekend. My world, although expanded geographically, felt smaller with the lack of independent transportation (aka my car). Free time was abundant, as well were funds, since expenses like gas and rent were obsolete. Things were so idyllic that I couldn’t help but feel like my life was something on display at a hallmark store.
That said, coming home not only meant a change in weather, but also a change in mindset. I no longer have the same excuses to procrastinate, nor do I have the same distractions. As such, I can feel the stress creeping in.
Managing this boils down to two factors: reflection and re-connection. Instead of lamenting my lack of “productivity” while abroad, I consider the things that I learned in Ecuador, and why my time there was beneficial in itself. Not only was it a rejuvenating break, but also an opportunity to expand my artistic and linguistic abilities- both of which are necessary for my graduation projects.
By “re-connection” I simply mean spending time with family and friends. Bonds form so easily abroad that it is important to remember, as well, the strength of connections that were cultivated over a span of many years. These are important to turn to when it becomes time to reintegrate into the community of home.
It is hard to recognize that this will be my last blog, because it means that my Ecuadorian adventure has finally come to a close. Although I face this fact with a saddened heart, I approach my new reality with a sense of inspiration. I know to use my global experience in a way that enriches my approach to life, and I am looking forward to sharing this within my work and amongst those I love.
With that, I would like to sign off with a quote from El aquimista, something that reminds me to thrive here at home.
“Cuando una persona desea realmente algo, el Universo entero conspira para que pueda realizar su sueño”
(When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true)