14 June, 2013

Romesick.

The clock is about to strike midnight, and when it does, it will officially be a month since I've been home.  I didn't even notice that until I looked at the calendar to see how long I've been home.  That month has flown by.  How is it that I've been home for a fourth of the amount of time that I was there?  Anyway.  So I've been home long enough to think through this whole being-home thing and how I feel about it:
Being home:
It's weird.  Like, few people here actually want to hear about my trip.  Whenever I start a story with "When I was in Rome", I feel like I'm being super pretentious and no one really wants to hear me talk about it.  I feel like the only people who can really listen to what I have to say and not really be jealous or feel like I'm trying to one-up them are other people who have studied abroad.  That's really hard, because I feel like I can't talk about the last four months of my life, but I need to in order to truly move on from the depression/funk that I've been in since being back.  Being home is great, though.  I've missed these people so much, and it's really great to finally have some stability back in my life.  What I missed most about home was the fact that I had a long list of friends who I knew would be there for me, and its great to have them back.  Sometimes I could tell that the friendships I made in Rome were (mostly) temporary, and that sometimes made it harder when I was really in need of a friend.
Being done with my semester:
However, I did make some amazing friends while I was abroad.  I miss singing One Direction with Victoria every damn time that CD plays, and I miss having her to talk to about my day/weekend.  I miss sharing my life with her.  She truly was a blessing to me while I was there, and I will never forget her.  Especially since we're going to remain friends!  Sarah was my rock whenever I was really in trouble emotionally in Rome, and I miss her so damn much.  I feel like few people in this world will understand me like she did, and I miss her exuberant personality.  Karishma, or my Indian Princess, is not my usual type of friend (nor is Sarah), but I'm so glad that I met her and befriended her anyway!  She, like Sarah, is just a ball of energy who still take the time to sit down and talk with me, and thats something I love about them.  I miss them so dearly.  My entire group of friends were all amazing people that I did not expect to meet, and they definitely changed me, as well as how I see other people in the world.
No longer living in Rome Rome:
I think this is obvious, especially since the title of this post is Romesick, but I miss Rome.  Rome is a truly beautiful city filled with history and art and beauty and life and White Bear just isn't cutting it anymore.  I could walk around Rome for hours and tell you all these crazy, insignificant (yet significant) details about the history of the city we were walking on.  I could walk through a museum by myself for hours and know more about the pieces of art that were in there than the little identification card could tell you for most of the pieces (Capitoline Museum.  My favorite museum in all of the world.).  No, I didn't speak Italian, but being in the states has made me realize how much I did learn.  I learned how to understand basic Italian, as well as Italian culture, and American culture is just so different sometimes.  I see references to Italy everywhere and it truly kills me because a) they're usually wrong (aka its brusKetta, not bruSHetta) and b) I'd rather hear about Italian stuff back in Italy than here.  I fell head over heels in love with Rome, and I don't know if I can ever feel as strongly about the U.S. as I did about Rome.  I grew up here, its comfortable, but you don't fall in love with comfortable.  It's the discomfort turned comfort that makes you ease into a relationship; it's the room for growth that makes you truly appreciate where you are and what you have.
Being out of Europe:
I think we all know where this is going.   I am so bored.  I have been in ONE country for an ENTIRE MONTH.  I know, I sound pretentious and rich and whatever.  But it's hard to not feel this way after spending four months traveling Europe and seeing all of these different cultures and languages and eating all of these different kinds of food.  There are some people in this world, such as my grandmother, who truly find traveling as an excellent way to help you appreciate what you have and thus never leave once you return.  I, on the other hand, find the opposite.  I learn about who I am and who I want to be through pushing myself.  Going to Lebanon was truly the most life-changing and eye-opening weekends of my entire life.  I agree with those who want to stay home after traveling in that I find traveling an amazing way to realize how great your life is and how blessed you truly are.  We have so many conveniences in America that you wouldn't have elsewhere, even a developed place such as Italy.  That doesn't mean that I need them, I just appreciate them more when I have them.  My wanderlust tattoo is not just because I liked that I got the opportunity to travel so much while I was abroad, but its there because traveling is a part of who I am and who I want to be.  I find other cultures to be amazing and beautiful and I want to experience these gifts that God gave to us.  There is no wrong or right way to do something, there are just a multitude of ways to get to the same goal, and I find that to be a truly beautiful thing about life.  And I hate ethnocentrism, but that doesn't mean I'm completely rid of mine.  I love putting myself in situations, such as the day I landed in Beirut, where my hidden ethnocentrism sneaks out and says hi.  Pushing myself into those situations is how I grow as a person and how I learn about the world around me.  I'm having a lot of trouble focusing on what I'm going to do in the future now that I'm home, but that's because I've realized that I don't want to do anything specific with my future.  I want to travel the world and see all it has to offer.  Obviously I'm not going to just quit life and leave, a) I don't have the money to do that and b) I don't have the desire to just up and leave.  But I know that God will put my passion for the world into His plan for me, somehow, someway.  I have no idea where I'm going to end up, but it's going to be some place beautiful and amazing.  And I hope I never lose this love of traveling.  I will be the 80 year old woman on the plane to Indonesia, just you wait.

08 June, 2013

Reminiscing.

Today, my younger sister graduated from high school.  This time next year, I will be graduating from college, and then this time the year after that, my youngest sister will be graduating from high school herself.  She (Camryn, the younger of the two) got really teary eyed at graduation, thinking that she has only two more years left and that she's feeling old and that life is passing by too quickly.  All I could think was "how do you think I feel?!"
Well, graduation was hard for me, too.  It got me thinking about how sad I was to graduate high school.  I was really blessed to make four of the most amazing friends in the world my last year of high school.  They are four of the best things that have ever happened to me, and I don't know what I'd do without them.  Well, at the time of graduation, I was mad and sad that I had only had one year with them.  I was scared that we were going to go on to college and move on with our lives.  I'm lucky in that they are still four of my favorite people in the world and they still think I'm okay enough to hang out with.  I was sad that the people who had such an impact on my life, on who I wanted to become, those people being my high school teachers, were going to have new students and would forget about me.  I was scared because up until then, life really was pretty easy, and I had to start making life decisions.  I knew who I wanted to be in high school, and I knew how to get it.  I graduated high school proud of my achievements.  Graduating high school was the first big step in becoming an adult, because it was really the first big change I ever experienced.  The second biggest one was studying abroad, mostly the coming home from being abroad, because it was the first time I truly had to say goodbye to people I cared about who I probably would never see again.  Now college graduation is coming, and I don't know how to handle it.  After this huge step, I truly get to go in the direction of my dreams.  I could fly off to Africa to teach children.  I could go off to Michigan to start grad school.  I could stay in Minnesota and get a job.  Everyone else in my class has these same options, and more, meaning that I will probably never see most of these people ever again.  This scares me more than anything, just because shit is getting real and I don't know how to handle it.

That is all.

03 June, 2013

A Well-Educated Person

I had a professor in Rome who was extremely smart.  She taught my Ancient Rome and Its Monuments class, which was an 'on-site' class, meaning we met at places like the Colosseum or the Pantheon instead of a classroom, and she made it very clear from day one that she was not a glorified tour guide.  She was our professor, we were her students, and we were to take notes on every little thing she ever said.  We were expected to know every Roman Emperor's name, dynasty, and ruling years, and when she asked us something like this and we didn't know, she would respond with, "This is really something you need to know.  Any well-educated person would know this."  Well, that angered me.  Because a) I am a well-educated person and I didn't know this b) There are plenty of well-educated people who just haven't gotten around to studying Ancient Roman history and c) Ancient Roman history is just that, history, and wasn't necessarily as important in my eyes as other parts of education.
Well, I'm glad to have had this professor.  I still disagree that you need to know any certain thing, such as Ancient Roman History, to be considered a well-educated person, but I have come to want to have a general knowledge in so many things now.  No part of education is more or less important than others.  They are all needed for us to move forward with life.  And I just want to know about it all.  As I start thinking about graduate school, I start thinking about all the areas I would love to study.  In all honesty, there's not really one area I want to learn about any more, but hundreds.  I would love to dabble in theology, anthropology, biology, etc.  I just love learning, and that's coming back after a semester of exploring.  This goes back to the question of how, now.  How do I learn about all of these things I want to learn about without going back to school forever?  Well, I'm starting to realize that instead of just reading for fun, I can try to incorporate things into my career.  I'm trying to figure out how to be interdisciplinary while still being in academia.  Because, lets be honest, I'm not really an office-type.  I need a job that is hands on in a couple of areas that interest me, and bring them together to one end goal.  And learning this about myself is getting me really excited to start reading and exploring about all the directions my life can go.