Where has the time gone?
I can’t believe I’m back. I can’t believe it’s over. Right now I’m sitting at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago wishing I was back in Croatia surrounded by all the amazing friends I made. I keep hearing all of the English being spoken with perfect American accents and I’m weirded out. Where’s the Croatian? Where’s the language barrier? I miss the troubles of traveling just as much as I miss the traveling itself.
The best three days or so have been unforgettable. I headed to Zagreb on Monday and arrived in time to grab dinner with the Americans that were left and a bunch of the Croatians. We had an amazing time wandering around Zagreb and just enjoying being together one more night. Tuesday morning most of the Americans left and it was just down to myself and one other American. We grabbed coffee with some of our Croatian friends and headed off to the… ZOO! It was so great and I had an awesome time. We took some pictures and just smiled so much. We even got to pet a baby goat, he was too cute. Afterwards the other American left and I was the last one standing. It was so odd. I ended up going shopping with the girl I was staying with and one of our other friends. It was nice being back in a shopping mall for the first time in months, but still being in a different country. Then we headed out to dinner and had a fantastic last dinner! I got cheese pizza and even managed to get the waiter to have the kitchen put feta on it (which I love). I also had one of my last jamnica’s (sparkling water) for a while, since it’s only sold in Croatia. Afterwards we walked around old town before heading home and to bed. This morning (Croatian time) I headed off to the airport and I’ve been flying ever since.
That being said, this whole going back to Seattle thing is super bittersweet. I’m excited to see all of my friends back home and get settled into my new apartment, but at the same time I really just wish I could turn around or at least turn back time. Another blogger had posted a link to an interesting article about coming home from study abroad by Jim Citron and Vija Mendelson, here’s an excerpt I really relate to: “We think of people who have lived in more than one place as being more “horizontally-rooted,” a trait that may be accompanied by a feeling of wanderlust as you realize how eager you are to explore new places. People who have had the experience of adapting to different ways of living develop skills that can enable them to adjust—plant their roots, if you will—in other new environments with increasing ease. This ability to feel almost at home anywhere—but not quite as totally rooted anywhere as you once did—can be at once exhilarating and frustrating.” I completely relate to this quote, especially the last sentence. Coming home is easy and difficult for me at the same time. I love getting to see all of my friends and eating my comfort food, but at the same time I feel so at home in the country I just left. Croatia seriously has become a second home to me and I’m going to do everything in my power to go back – I’m actually considering coming back on this program when it happens fall 2014. I just think it was such an amazing experience and if I can do it I think I would be stupid not to.
Even so, I wish I was still facing the language barrier, having difficulties being a vegetarian and immersed in the culture I’ve come to loved, but until I go back I guess I’ll just have to enjoy the Seattle Skyline a little longer.
In case you didn’t see his post, here’s the link. http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0507/coming_home_from_study_abroad.shtml