In 2 weeks time I will be home, in Philadelphia, trying to brave the cold and assimilate myself back into the “American” way of life. But, as I know from experience, it will not be easy.
Returning from Madrid after my first study abroad experience was probably harder than the entire study abroad experience itself. After returning from that experience, it seemed as if everything had changed. My friends had changed, their relationships had changed, my entire situation had changed. And it put me through a bout of depression. I was not equipped to handle the changes I encountered; I had not expected to feel so foreign in my own home.
This time, I wonder if things will be the same.
I am ready to go home. Unlike with Spain, I can say with all honesty that I am ready to return to the States. I don’t want the hustle and bustle lifestyle and I certainly don’t want to return to Philadelphia’s harsh winter, but all the same, I miss home much more than I did when I was in Madrid. I miss my friends, my boyfriend, my family, just my life that I have (or had) back there. I miss the immense amounts of freedom that I have in my life back home.
But my greatest fear is, what if something has changed without me noticing it?
Obviously I cannot know exactly what has been happening in my home life. I cannot know the minute details that living in the States, living amongst friends and close to family, has afforded to me. I assume much has stayed the same. Thanks to Skype, Facebook, and email, I have remained in constant contact with those I love the most.
However, there is always the ability to change. How have relationships been altered since I left the country some 3 months ago? How have my loved ones changed? How has my relationship with them changed?
I trust my loved ones so much. I know they would come to me with any problem of difficulty they felt concerned me. But, what about the daily, monotonous things that have changed in their lives? How will those things affect me? And how will I feel? Returning to a country set on its schedule, set on its fast-paced lifestyle, how will I be able to cope?
I did not cope very well when I returned to the States after I studied abroad for the first time. I had more of a culture shock in returning to my host country than I did by leaving it. I do not want the same thing to happen twice. I want to return home filled with the love, hope, and acceptance that Costa Rica has shown me. I want to, and will do my best to bring the pura vida back to the States with me.