3 July 2013

Coming home

Image taken from Google Images.

My year abroad dragged and crept along at times and there were occasions where I wanted nothing more than to come home and see my friends, family and boyfriend and curl up on the settee with the rain battering the windows (trust me, you will miss it at some point). But, looking back, my year abroad went relatively quickly. I remember setting foot on my plane(s) to France so distinctly that it seems like only yesterday and the memory of saying goodbye to my Mam at Edinburgh airport for over three months will always remain vivid in my mind. If you're interested at all, I typed out an entry from my private journal (it was quite hard for me to post it) detailing my thoughts right before I left England on subjects such as saying goodbye to people you know and what you might be like at the end of your year abroad etc. etc.

Looking back, it all seems a bit overly-dramatic. I worked myself up into such a frenzy wondering what would happen on my year abroad to change me or whether it would be as big and scary an experience as my imagination had made it out to be. The answer is: no, it wasn't. It really is a hell of a lot easier than you initially think. If you're waiting to embark on your year abroad, I know this small paragraph will do nothing to ease the pre-departure nerves because this is probably the biggest thing you've done in your life to date, but if I speak honestly, it really is a piece of cake. Obviously there will be times when you'll be fed up and will want to come home and see family and friends, but other than that it's an absolute breeze.

So, in the post I mentioned above, I asked a question which went something like "Who will I be at the end of my year abroad?" and wrote something along the lines of waiting until the experience was over and finding out when I come home. I'm now at home (and have been for a couple of weeks), so who have I become/what has changed me? I haven't really thought about it yet because I've been celebrating my homecoming by seeing family, drinking with friends, eating lots of rubbish, being out and about at different events and generally just enjoying myself because I love being at home.

But now that I've had time to think about it, I don't think I've really changed at all. Obviously I've become more confident in myself and independent and I feel like I can tackle any problem now, but other than that I see no real change (which isn't a bad thing). I think mainly I've realised a lot of things, some of them being:
  • I'm a home bird (as my friend Emily described me one day)
  • The grass isn't always greener on the other side (i.e. I love my home city, Newcastle, a lot)
  • My friends are the most fantastic group of people I could ever ask to know (from home and from abroad)
  • My family needs me just as much as I need my family
  • I love my boyfriend more than I even thought possible (a soppy one for you there)
I'm not sure what other people are taking away from their year abroad, but I think for me the biggest thing is that being apart from the people and place I love has taught me not to take them for granted. Before I went to live in France and Spain I didn't realise just how important all these things were to me until I couldn't access them so easily. Like I said above, I actually looked forward to visiting the drizzly, windy isle I call home and eating lots of roast dinners and watching trash television. Being abroad gave me a chance to miss all of that.

I don't want this post to be misconstrued, however. I really did enjoy being abroad. It opened my eyes to a lot of things (about the world and about myself) and I met some fantastic people who I'll be staying in touch with for a long time to come and who have also been like a family to me. I've even made better friends with people that I barely knew at my own university because I live so far away from it, which is a good enough outcome on its own.

I think living abroad has also given me a very small dose of wanderlust (still absolutely nothing compared to my friends Rebecca and Jack!) and now when I see new places in magazines or on my friends' instagram feeds (whether it be London or Hong Kong) I feel an inner desire to be there and explore it. Two of my closest friends are leaving to go to Australia this time next year, so that will give me something to work towards since I've always wanted to see that side of the world.

So that's it! That's the end of my year abroad and (possibly) the end of this blog. I'll still be updating this with tips'n'tricks for new Erasmus students and personal trips I'll be taking with family, friends and my boyfriend, but seeing as I have other ventures on the horizon (moving into a new flat, starting my final year of university, personal projects and events to attend), this blog will be put on the back burner for a while.

I am, however, thinking of starting myself a lifestyle blog in the coming future when I can turn my life around, so stay tuned as I will certainly let all of my readers know if I decide to move across the internet.

Peace and love and peace out.
Carey.