7 days left in South Africa. 7. That s**t cray. I guess I feel like I’ll be returning to “real life” again—but that thought makes me question what real life is.
“As you settle into your new life and country, as time passes and becomes less a question of how long you’ve been here and more one of how long you’ve been gone, you realize that life back home has gone on without you. People have grown up, they’ve moved, they’ve married, they’ve become completely different people — and so have you.”
I’ve changed. Do I know how? Heylll naw. I still don’t even know why I went abroad, maybe to escape something or to find something or to be something.
“And while it’s enormously refreshing and exhilarating to feel like you can be anyone you want to be and come without the baggage of your past, you realize just how much of “you” was based more on geographic location than anything else.”
What does that even mean? I think it means that I’m not static. I’m fluid—always in the state of becoming—and living in a new place adds some sort of layers to who I am, while at the same time stripping everything unnecessary away from my core sense of self.
“ There is a certain amount of comfort and confidence that you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again, and a knowledge that — come what may in the rest of your life — you were capable of taking that leap and landing softly at least once.”
Have I landed softly? I’ve been challenged in ways I never thought I would and learned more, for the first time, from experiences than from a classroom. I learned that living with 17 girls is a recipe for estrogen-induced tears/fights but also endless opportunities for great conversations and infinitely deep closets. I learned that leaving food out guarantees it will be stolen. I learned that some days you fall out of trees, and some days you pick yourself up (some days with a sprained ankle…). I learned that family can be anyone and home can be anywhere.
Now I have to prepare myself for another set of transitions—another period of becoming someone new. Of repackaging my life to fit into a new series of experiences. It’s exciting, terrifying, imminent, obvious, and all wrapped into one 24-hour flight. Ready or not, here I come!