From England to Minnesota. That was weird. I spent my last couple of nights in England hanging out with the amazing friends I had made, staying up late laughing, singing, dancing, and making some final memories. We woke up early to watch the sunrise from a rooftop to really put a stamp on the occasion. Then my roommate and I left for London. We saw the musical Wicked in London’s West End, which I was so thrilled for! That production gave me goosebumps! We got back to our hostel, went on our last midnight McDonald’s run, pushed our beds together, and talked for hours. Needless to say I was exhausted but so content. The following day we parted ways and boarded different flights. Before I knew it, I landed at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and was greeted by my father. Tears were shed upon our reunion. Then we got right into the car to drive the four hours to Detroit Lakes. We talked a lot in the car about my adventures and simply catching up, but I felt distracted. It was so bizarre to have been in England in the morning then driving through part of Minnesota’s countryside that evening. It did not feel real. It almost felt like a weird dream, like I couldn’t quite find my balance or my voice, as if everything was teetering on an edge. I guess it was a little bit of shock. I had grown so accustomed to England and Europe that America literally felt a little foreign to me. I was also really sad honestly. I wanted to turn around and find a flight back to England. I did not want to be in Minnesota. I was already missing my home across the pond and my friends so much. I genuinely felt sad and angry that I was in that car. But then I remembered how happy I felt when I saw my dad. I figured it would take some readjusting to get back into the swing of things, and it has.
It has been about two weeks since I have returned to the states. The most bizarre thing is that it almost feels like I never left. Everyone here is the same, everything looks the same, my routine has been reestablished, everyone is talking about what’s new in their life and gossiping like they always have, and here I am sitting thinking about my amazing adventures in Europe while trying to listen in on the present. It’s just bizarre, almost un-nerving, but I know this is normal. I was gone for so long, nearly half a year. I had readjusted already to a different life back in England. I think for me, what made my transition so much harder was feeling like I finally had some roots in the ground in England after I returned from my European adventures. Landing back in England felt like returning home and it was such an awesome feeling. Then less than a full two weeks later I have to uproot everything and just . . . leave. I’ll be honest, I’m still a little sad, I’m still readjusting to my American life and trying to find where my old roots are. But a part of me doesn’t necessarily want my old roots. I want to plant new ones again, or maybe not plant any roots. My semester abroad was truly inspiring for me and I do not want to settle. I want to continue to find adventures and opportunities. I don’t want to feel tied down by anything or stuck. On the other hand, I did so much traveling that I just want to relax and find some stability, at least until I can find my sea legs again.
Just the other day I went on a drive by myself, just around the lake going back to my dad’s house listening to my favorite tunes, windows down and just breathing in the air. The air is even different. It smells and feels different. Less cool, even less clean. But then I pulled my car over to watch a bit of the sunset on the lake, to have a moment to myself in peace. Hearing the water gently lick the rocks, feeling the breeze on skin, smelling the lake, seeing the beautiful Minnesota trees catch fire from the gorgeous sun reminded me that I love Minnesota. That moment really made me feel more at home again. It’s great to talk to my family and friends back home, but I needed a moment to myself to catch my breath again, to check in on how I was doing. I feel more at home, although I still miss England. The saddest part is I have no idea when I will get to go back, or worse when I will get to see my England friends again. I made friends from the states whom I can much more easily visit and catch up with, but England is so far away. It’s expensive and time consuming to go just for a visit. Sadly, it will probably be a long time before I go back. But I do know this, I WILL go back to England, if not for a visit but to move and live there because I genuinely felt so much more comfortable in England than I do in the states. Now I do love the country I live in and I love seeing all of my family and friends, but there was just something about England that clicked for me. I cannot ignore it. But have no fear, I have not purchased any plane tickets . . . yet.
Needless to say, it is good to be home. Cheers to England for giving me a home, my new friends who provided me endless memories, the seven other countries that hosted me, my parents for their support, and to me for taking the bold step to go on one of the biggest adventures of my life!
Cheers! Slanché! Salté!