DISCLAIMER: technically I am posting this on July 11th, which means that I have already been back on the American continent for 8 days. However, I was not able to publish this article before leaving as it never seemed good enough and before I knew it I was already back in Maine with no mention of it on this blog. So I will post this article, which was written on June 29th, today. In a couple of days I will write an article about the thoughts I had when I arrived back in Maine. Stay tuned.
Today is June 29th 2016, which means that exactly one year ago I woke up for the last time in my bed in Brunswick and said goodbye to the wonderful life I led there. It is strange to think that it was one year ago: on one side it feels like it happened yesterday, on the other it feels like it happened a whole lifetime ago.
Today is June 29th 2016, which means that in exactly 4 days I will board a plane to Boston and get back to my second family. When I bought my tickets a couple of months ago it did not feel real, which is why I never actually mentioned it. I was excited about it but I did not fully realise what it meant yet, but right now the fact that I will be flying back to one of my favourite places on earth in about 96 hours is finally starting to feel real.
I do not even know where to start… I am excited, I am happy, I am scared, I am nostalgic.
Anyone who has been following my blog for a while or who knows me personally is aware of how much I loved my year in Maine: the state itself, my family, my friends, even my high school. It holds such a huge and important place in my heart that I could write an entire book about how much I absolutely loved my AFS experience and it still would not be enough. So the fact that I’m going back should just make me happy, right? Plain and simple. Unfortunately human being are not as simple as that and somehow I am actually more scared than happy.
Yes, I am scared. Why? Because over this past year the more I thought about my exchange year the more I tended to idealise it. When I talk about Maine I only talk about the good things (like when you think back on a relationship after a break-up and only seem to recall how perfect it was). Truth is, my year was not perfect. I kept a journal there and I did write more than once about how I wanted to go home, how I felt a bit trapped at times, how I missed everything too much. I did enjoy it while it was happening and I was aware of how lucky I was to be there, but it was never actually perfect (and that was okay, nothing ever is). However, one thing that it always was, was dream-like. I talked about this in my REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK? article. My life in Maine felt like a dream because it is something that I experienced on my own, that no one here can relate to. It is strange to think that I will be going back, with my biological parents, to a life that felt like a dream.
So here’s why I am scared: what if going back doesn’t hold up to my expectations? What if I have idealised this place so much in order to hold on to a time in my life where everything felt perfect to get through the fact that this past year has been so far from it? This past year has been extremely difficult, which consequentially made me idealise Maine even more because everything there seemed so simple, I was so far away from everything that I had known and gone through (my struggle with my mental health and all my triggers back at home. As explained in my ED RECOVERY AND VEGANISM article, living in Maine for a year really did help me feel better about myself). So when I imagine myself going back, I imagine myself getting better. But what if it doesn’t work that way this time?
On the other hand: what if it does? What if I get too comfortable in that life again, just to have to leave it after only one month? This is the option that scares me the most. What if I never actually idealised it and my life there was actually as amazing as I make it seem? What if seeing everyone again, just to have to leave them again, will hurt too much? I remember that day last year way too well, I remember the pain. I have so much love for my family and friends there that leaving them felt like the worst thing that I had ever done. I want to see them so badly, but I do not want to have to go through that again.
Okay, that was a lot of “what ifs” and reading back on what I just wrote it all sounds extremely depressing. It is not though, I am just in a really strange place right now. Believe me I am happy. I am so happy to see everyone again, to sleep in my bed again, to hug my siblings, to smell the pine trees, to drink an iced mocha chai at Little Dog, all of it.
The thing is, I am feeling too much; I am both happy and sad, excited and nostalgic. I was feeling the exact same way when I left last year, the three days of travel I went through were filled with so many emotions and it was both beautiful and terrible, and that was exhausting. That is what is happening right now, I know that it is going to be difficult and I know that I will feel too much, and that is kind of scary.
Wish me luck,