Today marks one month at home after my journies abroad.
So much was happening so quickly, that I needed to focus on living in the present instead of writing about my past. Although I may regret not blogging my final month, it was pertinent I take that time to heal… without sharing it with the world.
However, I now deem myself sufficiently stable to reflect.
Although impossible to truly recap my life, since writing last, I traveled around Scandinavia, stayed in the beautiful English countryside, finished my courses, changed my Major to Anthropology, said goodbye to my new friends and new home, and started a new life in my old home. In other words, I’m very sad, confused, and tired… but hopeful to see what this next chapter of my life will look like.
In September of 2016, I left my childhood home for the first time in my life to live alone in a Country where I knew no one. I’m adventurous, but geez, that was a big first move eh? I shortly made friends with fellow exchange students, classmates, and flatmates. I took out my passport, emptied my wallet, and explored as much as I could… traveling around England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. I may miss cheap flights more than anything else.
… Well… I’ll miss a lot of things.
For the first time in my academic history, I loved what I was learning. I really hope that will happen again for me. By pure happenstance, I fell into the wacky world of Cardiff museums- studying Conservation and working at the National Museum in Cardiff. It may just have changed my life- I hope I stick with it. Not only did I become obsessed with pest traps and relative humidity, but I found a new world of quirky individuals who balance the merits of science and art to allow us to learn about our shared material history for years to come. Plus, I finally got to use my previously useless knowledge of archaeology, history, science, and public education, as well as let my OCD enjoy cleaning objects for hours under a microscope. The Conservation program at my university was small, but their achievements are huge and they welcomed me with a giant heart. Not only did our professors and peers teach us, but they took us for hikes and to the pub. How cool! I’ll miss everyone dearly… the Conservation Crew, my mentors, my friends- I only wish I got to know you all better.
Everyone warned me that going abroad, I would “evolve,” and come back to an unchanged home… leading me to feel uncomfortable in my old life. Well, that didn’t happen to me. Pretty much the opposite happened. I do believe I learned a lot, but I also believe I stayed true to the independent young woman, albeit, more museum-obsessed-young-woman, I was already on the path to becoming. Unfortunately, I came back to a changed home. My uncle tragically passed away, leaving me with a new brother. I came home to a new bedroom, a new family, and a new pile of responsibilities. It was a strange way to return and leads me to this final note:
The most significant lesson I learned while abroad was the importance of family and friends. You can travel and learn and be glamourous and jealousy-inducing…. and it is a privilege to do so… but none of it is as important as human relationships. I hope to venture again into this wonderful world of ours… but now I know. This Vancouverite can’t live abroad forever.