It’s been 192 days since I left my other home; Amsterdam.
In just 16 days, it will be 1 year since I moved there. Damn.
It’s been 28 since I left for my “Suite Life” adventures in Bremen.
I’ve been home for 3 1/2 days.
Man…does time fly pretty fast.
This time last year I was getting mentally prepared for what I thought would be just an amazing experience. Little did I know that I was about to embark on something so life changing for me. If you only met me this year or barely know me at all, you’re probably thinking: “How could 5 months abroad really be that life changing?”
And normally I’d want to explain myself to you, but I think for now I’ll just smile and let you ponder.
In the past year, I’ve seen and experienced more than I ever thought I would. I allowed myself to get lost in foreign countries, cities, and modes of transportation (often alone). I allowed myself to feel vulnerable during appropriate situations, yet I remained calm and stern. I had this sense of independence.
I came back to New York on January 21st with a heavy heart. Leaving Amsterdam meant escaping my new, happy comfort zone and going back to ordinary. Sure, to most reading this, New York is extraordinary and it really is! But when you’re so adjusted to taking the lift downstairs, unlocking your bike and then riding off towards the center to attend class, you forget what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of your car. You forget what it’s like to swipe your metro card for the 1 train that takes you to midtown verses “checking in and out” on the Sprinter/Intercity/Tram/Metro and seeing the beauty of De Pijp or Waterlooplein. I read somewhere once that when you study abroad you either fall in love with someone or with your city. I got my city & I truthfully couldn’t be happier.
Yet, you come back home and it’s all second nature. You really didn’t forget — you just wanted to. You wanted to forget, just for a little, what it meant to be a New Yorker. Wanting to feel like an outsider so that you could resonate more with that place you just came from. That place you called home for so long. Fortunately, for someone like me, Amsterdam will always remain my home. Amsterdam will always be a love to me.
So when the news came out from my mother’s lips that she’s allowing me to study abroad again in the summer, I could not contain my excitement. I’m going back!? I thought to myself repeatedly. I tried my best not to tell a lot of people, similar to last year when I applied to the Global Exchange Program. I wanted this to be something for me and not something others to look at as if I was bragging. I just wanted to fall in love with the world all over again.
Every time I go to Europe it will never be exactly the same: the people I’ll be with, my mindset, how the world around me is living.
Same same, but different.
And that is the beauty of life. Nothing will or can always be the same. There’s always going to be that slightest difference that you can feel, but it’s ok.
This time around I bid Europe farewell for a while. With my LSATs around the corner and law school applications to be done, I believe my next adventure will be figuring out where I’ll be continuing my education. Do I stay on the east coast? My comfort zone? Or do I venture out to California? Somewhere I never thought I’d consider to live. Or am I crazy enough to want to go to the middle of the United States? Right now, I don’t know. But I do know that school visitations are calling my name. AKA I’m not done traveling. I don’t think I ever will be done.
With uncertainty of what else to say, I’ll just leave you with this quote:
“Please travel the world. Soak up the different culture and eat strange foods. Swim in the clear ocean and suntan on a warm rock. Take hundreds of pictures that do not do the trip justice. Go on long runs just to see the view from a different angle. Meet new faces and shake their hands; speak to them in their language even if you are not quite sure what you are saying. Go to dancing halls in Jamaica, jump off cliffs in Greece, climb mountains in Chile. The world is mine, the world is yours, the world is ours. Please travel the world.” — via Purple Buddha Tumblr