Coming back to the United States was a big shock for me. The second I landed in Los Angeles I knew that I was no longer immersed in the New Zealand culture I became so used to. Everyone was in a hurry, everything was automated making everything seem impersonal, everyone in my program went their own separate ways with no goodbye, the LAX employees didn’t know what they were doing, and TSA was slow as usual. I can’t say that I necessarily missed this aspect of the States but I was quickly reminded what it was like. However, that was just my experience in the LAX airport, which is a terrible airport by the way. Once I landed in New York after all of my layovers and long flights I was so relieved to be home again. Driving back from JFK at night when no one was on the road was refreshing and exciting. I had a liminal stage for a few days, as well as jet lag, but it was extremely easy adjusting back to my home culture.
My parents were happy to receive my reincorporation letter mostly because they got me with it. They were touched by what I wrote and promised to help me in my reincorporation process by just treating me as the normally would. The quote I used in my reincorporation letter was by Jane Addams which reads “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” I chose this quote because I felt it really captured what I wanted in my reincorporation process. I wanted to bring something new that I learned in my host culture and bring it into my home culture and other people’s lives. By sharing my stories and journeys with people from my home country I am being a responsible citizen as well as helping my reincorporation process. I feel that my community helped and supported me throughout my entire time abroad. They kept me in touch with my goals and who I truly am, which in turn helped me make the most out of my study abroad experience.
Some “gems” I plan on bringing along with me are to disclose to people that there are certain ways to live your life and to take chances. My first gem is an important one because a lot of people believe that there is only one path for them in their life and that is certainly not the case. We are taught our entire life that we have to pick and choose a certain way we want to live and that through hard work and dedication you can achieve these goals, which is true, but what they fail to tell you is that the time you spent achieving your goals was a major portion of your life. Now it is up to that individual at that certain moment to look back and reflect on whether the ends justified the means. If it does then great, but if it doesn’t what now. I just want to make people aware of this reality because it does happen and being aboard has made me realize that there may be a lot more fields or areas I am not familiar in but may love doing. Experimenting and reflecting is a key part in finding what you love, which ties into my next “gem” of taking chances. Everyone has to take chances. They make you a stronger and more aware person when take them. They may not turn out the way you expect, but either way you learned something new.
One major stream that I will have to divert is the one of laziness. During the summer if I am not working I become extremely lazy and do not want to do activities that I would normally enjoy doing. These would include hiking, biking, exercising, and socializing with friends. I know that if I do not make the effort here I will fall back into my old habit of being lazy which was non-existent in New Zealand.
The quote I chose to end my final travelogue and to express how I feel about being home is from Mother Teresa “Love beings at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put into that action.” I feel that this is a perfect quote to sum up how I am feeling because I do feel loved back at home and by bringing this love to other places and sharing it with other people I make another home. A home where hopefully one day I can go back to where the suns rises over the rolling hills with healthy green grass, sets over the calm ocean, and where the people are friendly and use cool sayings such as “Sweet as.” I will miss New Zealand, but my real home is right here in little village of Cold Spring, New York.