Alas, my semester abroad has come to a close. In fact, it’s been over now for a few crazy, holiday-filled weeks. I must say, it’s been absolutely wonderful. As great as it was to be abroad, I truly missed my family and friends back home.
I feel like the “culture shock” of re-entering the states is either severely delayed or a lot less shocking than I expected. I’m not shocked at all. I feel almost overwhelmed by love and affection in a way that I am now much more grateful for, after having spent so much time on my own this past semester.
I honestly believe that time strengthens bonds, and the 4.5 months that I was away strengthened all of my relationships back home. I feel so lucky and so loved.
My last week in New Zealand was hard. Unfortunately, it was heavily affected by the weight of the election. I felt a constant need to be surrounded by people who understood how I was feeling, yet all of those people were across the world. It was much harder for me than I ever would have expected to be alone at this time in my life.
And suddenly, it was the end.
I packed my bag, dropped off my key, cooked the last of my food, drank one last coffee, waited for the shuttle.
I got on two planes, hardly missed the earthquake, slept a few stiff hours in a middle-of-the-middle seat, came back through customs.
The next day, my flight from San Fransisco to Hartford got rerouted, leaving me with a 40-minute layover in Houston. The flight from San Fransisco to Houston got delayed due to mechanical difficulties and I was sure I would miss my flight and have to spend the night in Houston. Fortunately, they pushed back the departure time of the second flight, and I made it home safely at midnight on November 14th.
One checked bag, one carry-on, one handheld item.
Countless hours in a car.
One abroad experience.
Goodbye New Zealand.