While on the plane back home my biggest fear was that everything would be different back home, that everyone has changed and that I wouldn’t fit in. Yet as I sat with my friends and family during my welcome home (reincorporation) barbeque I realized that my biggest struggle wasn’t with those who have changed but those who have remained the same. Unlike most people who come back home from abroad to the same lifestyle and home, I came back home to a mostly different life. I came back home to a new house, a different car, a new born baby and a new job. For me, everything was different and new, which made my reincorporation a little easier because I was so focused with adapting to all of those new changes instead of going through the same old routine. It wasn’t until being around my parents, who haven’t changed at all, did I realize how much I actually changed. They acted as if I had never left and wanted me to pick up exactly where I left off, yet I found myself unable to do that. It felt wrong, I wasn’t that person anymore. My Parents cared little about my experience abroad and focused more on the fact that I was finally back. The best way I could explain myself and my experience to them was that “I found a new self” (Simbach, p. 210). I couldn’t exactly describe how I have changed, it just felt as though I am more awake, aware of the world and what it has to offer. I didn’t find myself caring about frivolous things and cared more about the bigger picture of my life. To better help both myself and my family and friends adjust to the new me was to tell them and myself to be patient and open to the changes to come and to not force myself back into the old routine. One change that I intend on taking from my experience abroad is to limit the amount of waste we produce on a daily basis by: walking more, limiting the amount of electricity we use while also emphasizing recycling and compost. Also the most beneficial daily practice that I took from abroad and Simbach, that I want to incorporate into my new life and the lives of those around me, is taking time from the day to connect with nature and reflect. I also intend on bringing global knowledge and awareness to the QU community through the Irish club that I am now president of.
Although my experience abroad has forever changed me and will be with me forever, I do not find myself homesick for it, just like I did not find myself homesick for America while in Ireland. And I think it’s because for me home is where I make it. I will never forget Ireland and the home I made there, but now it’s time for my next adventure. I also know that it is never goodbye, but simply, till next time. Simbach perfectly depicted my idea of what home means to me, he states “Home isn’t just a physical space we inhabit, but relationships, places and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are” (p.208). My goal throughout life is to expand my “home” as much as I can. I want to continue traveling and learning about the world, because the more I learn and experience the world, the more I begin to notice who I really am as a person.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub. LLC., 2010. Print.