Since I have been home, I keep finding myself apologizing, simply because I repeatedly catch myself only speaking about that one time I studied abroad. I can’t help it; Greece was home and Europe is home to some of my most favorite memories. On days where I am missing it like crazy, the people I speak to might think it’s all I talk about. Which is a rightful explanation. At times, it’s all I think about.
I might not be living in Greece anymore, but a big piece of my heart will always be there waiting for me to return. Everyday I’m grateful that I decided to go; that I left behind the safety of home and said goodbye to a relationship that was holding me back. Everything seemed to have fallen together when I got on that plane, but I wasn’t meant to stay.
Coming home wasn’t easy. For one, the food here tasted different than it did before. But I also left behind friends that I wish I could have right next to me forever. I said goodbye to a country that I’d only just began to call home.
I also felt like I had taken a huge step backward in all of my accomplishments. I went from having an internship, being a full time student and traveling constantly to coming home to the actuality of my life. I was no longer living off of my savings — it was time to go back to a job and finding out where I was headed next. For a while I felt like next wouldn’t compare to where I had been.
I felt stuck. The same way I had before I left. That feeling that pressed me to leave in the beginning.
I loved every single country I visited. They were each unique and beautiful and so unlike the other. They seemed to have endless opportunities to do and be whatever I want.
Then, slowly, just like all of the places in Europe I visited, I found a new love for the country I am native to. I stopped harboring this hate for being back and I started noticing what I have missed out on. The opportunities that were right in front of me were endless. I started seeing my home as if I didn’t know a thing about it and everything changed. I began studying our culture as if it were foreign to me. I stopped ordering my usual and started going to the new restaurants.
My mindset changed completely. I brought the same mindset I had while abroad back into my head. That’s what made all the difference. Because just like the countries I had visited, my own country and culture is amazing, too.