Although these past four months have been some of the best of my life, I can honestly say I was very excited to come home. Sure, I did not want to leave my new friends and my host mom, but I knew that I was coming home with a new outlook on America. Traveling has helped me appreciate my home country more than ever. With this outlook, I did not face many challenges while reintegrating with my home community. The only things I did have to deal with were jet lag, and changing my schedule around as I have become accustomed to eating meals later, such as dinner at 10pm instead of around 6pm. Aside from these, I did not find it difficult to integrate back home.
I chose to share my Reincorporation Letter with my family. They were very supportive of the whole integration process. The quote I chose was “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living” (Miriam Beard). Throughout this whole semester, I would send my family pictures of me in different cities. They would always say things like “wow you are so lucky to be doing this” etc. I don’t think they realized that while seeing these sights, I was also maturing, learning way more than I could in a classroom, and changing. Now that I am back, they have seen just how much this experienced has changed me. I’ve learned more about respect (in terms of respecting cultures) than ever before, lived and adjusted to a whole different country, and spent countless days and nights speaking a different language. I am so glad that I was now able to share with them stories from time abroad instead of just pictures, because they are now able to somewhat see what I’ve seen.
One phrase that was very popular in Sevilla was “no pasa nada” which basically means ‘don’t worry about it,’ or ‘it’s not a big deal.’ Most Spaniards had an extremely laid back attitude. This is definitely something that I will carry forward, as Americans are known for being a fast-paced culture. It is nice to stop and smell the roses, and not worry so much about the little things. Another way I will carry my experience forward is by continuing to travel. I want to learn about other Latin American cultures, and the best way to do that is by traveling.
Since returning home from studying abroad, my old habits have already changed. I no longer feel the need to check my phone every twenty minutes, nor do I ever use it if at meals with friends and family. Instead I enjoy the time being in their company. I will need to divert from falling back into old habits, though. I have become so independent living abroad, so I hope I am able to continue this independency while back at home this summer and then when at school.
This quote by Pat Conroy perfectly describes my feelings at this time. “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” I will never be able to forget about any part of these last four months. Every day I think about specific moments that happened in certain countries. I also never want to stop traveling, and I hope that my future children have the opportunity to travel just like I did.