Today officially marks one year.
During this time of the year, I came back home from studying abroad in Europe. It was a long 3 in half months filled with non-stop learning about myself and the world around me.
Before I studied abroad, I was living a life quite opposite of what I was used to. I was living a quiet life. I basically dropped off the face of the earth. People didn’t know what was going on with me anymore because I rarely updated my whereabouts on social media. I didn’t have a working phone. I cut off a lot of people and I stayed away from attending social events. I admit that I was depressed. On the outside, people thought I was doing great but deep down I was trying so hard to fill a hole that was in my heart. It’s hard to imagine now, but the me before that was nothing close to the me now. Back then, I lived my life recklessly and often had public meltdowns for the world to see. But with time, I changed. I didn’t want to live my life that way anymore. However, living the quiet life wasn’t enough for me. I wanted a new life, so I left to Europe.
It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Without any disturbances, I was able to self-reflect. I was able to analyze things that went wrong in my life. I also analyzed relationships that I so badly wanted to work but failed. I was able to understand myself more and I was able to broaden my perspective on life. I learned forgiveness. I learned patience. I learned perseverance. I learned how and when to let go. Most importantly, I learned that the world never stops spinning.
It was a difficult decision to make, but I left the program early instead of completing the 2 weeks of free travel due to the fact that I was extremely homesick.
I remembered waking up bright and early on the day it was time for me to leave. As I looked around my room for the last time, I felt a bittersweet feeling that I couldn’t quite explain. I already packed my things the night before. All I had left to do was to call the taxi and be on my way to the airport. A part of me didn’t want to leave, but I knew it was for the best because I couldn’t deny that my heart was longing for home. Home was where I belonged.
Boarding the plane back to the United States from Germany felt like a dream. I was exhausted from traveling to 6 different countries back to back. Throughout the plane ride, I experienced a severe case of motion sickness. I don’t think I would have survived if it weren’t for this friendly, British black woman who sat next to me. I would wake up from my naps to a fresh bottle of water and lunch provided from the flight attendants. After I woke up from what seemed like the 5th nap, she and I started to conversate. She asked me why I was traveling alone. I told her that I was going home to my family after studying abroad for the semester. Her eyes twinkled at me and she nodded her head as if she seemed to understand. She then said, “You are very brave… Not many people would have the courage to do so. You should rest. Not just your body, but your mind as well. Your spirit is trying to prepare you for what’s to come.” Even today, I haven’t been able to forget those words coming from that friendly stranger.
It didn’t really hit me what she said until today. Little did I know, what was yet to come that week changed my life forever…… What happened next, the world already knows. It is now that same time of the year again except this time I am alone. As much as I try to be positive, I accept that I will be alone possibly for the rest of my life…. and it’s okay because in life you can’t always get what you want. Even though it gets lonely, I know I’ll be okay. I’ll be fine. And so will you.