There And Back Again
Before I came back to the states, I did not understand what it meant to have a hard time re-entering the American way of life. I mean for real, I have been an American for twenty years of my life. How was spending four short months as a Mexican supposed to change everything I ever grew up knowing? I had grown up in my house with my family and in my town for twenty years. What was supposed to be different?
I did not immediately go back home when I returned to the states. I stopped by my university to take care of some business that I had before they went on break. It was great seeing my sorority, my friends, and my boyfriend. But, I feel like that was really when I realized that being back in America was hard. I wish I had heeded the words of my off campus study department. Before leaving for my study abroad, one of my off campus studies pamphlets said that a stereotype Americans face is how loud they are. When I came back to the states, this stereotype rang true. It was so hard to deal with the noise level of college students in many different situations. My sorority was off the charts at our meeting. My friends were way too loud at dinner in public. I just could not believe I was having trouble handling the noise level of kids I had just been with three months ago. Being in these large groups was relatively overwhelming as well. I could not be around them for a long periods of time.
While I really enjoyed my study abroad experience, I found that it was a lot easier for my parents to talk about their vacation to visit me in Mexico and my study abroad experience. When people have/had asked me about my experience I find myself a little lost in what to exactly explain. I do not want to fall victim to the problem of a single story and the singular perspective I had while abroad in Mexico. I miss my host mom ferociously, the comfort of my own room, and the alone time I could reserve for myself. It is immensely harder to run on a treadmill than it is to just step outside my house in Merida. I miss being able to travel the city on my own two legs.
I plan on returning to Merida. My parents want to move there. I am currently working on teaching Spanish to my mother who is of Mexican decent. Until me, the Spanish language had been forever lost after my grandfather died in 1993. My sister and I discuss her Spanish homework frequently while my father and I have frequently quick conversations in Spanish about our days or things we need done. My boyfriend enjoys hearing me speak and tries occasionally to jump in. While I was at my university, I enjoyed talking with some of my friends that were bilingual. I am forever grateful that this experience was offered to me and cannot wait till I make my next journey to Mexico. Hopefully, this next year will be filled with as much adventure as this last one.