So this is my final blog. I just want to let everyone know how I’ve been doing since coming home.
First, I want everyone to know that the last 6 months of my exchange were the best of my life. I cannot describe the joy the last 6 months brought me. Sure, I missed home but compared to how much I miss Hungary now that was nothing. I loved my life. I loved my friends- and I became closer to them than I ever have with anyone else. I was independent. I was travelling. I got to see Europe and I spent every day doing fun things with my best friends. At the end of June most of my best friends had gone home so at that point I felt that I was ready to come home. Of course the hardest part of goodbye I thought was over. I had said goodbye to the girl I’d spent everyday for 5 and half months with, Annika. I’d said goodbye to my Budapest clan, Devin and Max. I said goodbye to Nicole, Shabree, Terry, Arthur, Bianka, Taylor, and Parcsa- the people who had saved my life the first 4 months and made my exchange. Leaving on July 2 I cried when I left my host parents- who ended being a great family for me. I cried when the plane took off- not knowing when I’d see my favorite city again. I cried on and off on the flight to Detroit because I thought about the year and the fact that I made it. I survived it. But mostly the fact that I just couldn’t believe it had been 10 months and it was over. I started this process over 2 years ago and it is all over with. For 2 years my mind constantly thought about it and it is over. To tell you the truth, that concept is still not hit me. I don’t want it to be over. Accepting that it is still really difficult.
I haven’t cried much since I got home. The first two days were difficult. I’ve thought about it a lot and I think reverse culture shock is much, much worse than culture shock. I was okay until this past weekend. It was the exchange student weekend for the all the exchange students in our conference area. To me if felt like a constant reminder. A reminder that my exchange is over, that I will be sad a lot, that high school will be miserable, that I can’t go back soon and that life will not be that exciting anymore. I had to watch all the new kids going out and how excited they were and it killed me. I just want to get in a time machine and head back to last August. There were lots of lows but many more highs and I just wish I could relive it. The worst part is knowing that even if I go back to Budapest it won’t be the same- my best friends won’t be there, it won’t be for as long, things will have changed. I can never go back to what I had. Accepting that has also been very difficult.
When I was on my flight from Frankfurt to Budapest last August I felt between two worlds. I had left everything I knew and at that point I was between to unfamiliar places- Germany and Hungary. That is exactly how I feel now. Except that flight was an hour or so and this has been 2 weeks. Hungary seems like home now and I am caught between knowing that Hungary is not the same now but neither is the US. I think I glorified home a lot when I was gone. I’m home now and the food isn’t as good as I remember. My bed is not as comfortable. The dollar is soooooo expensive compared to the Forint. I spend my days doing nothing. I drive my mom around because I’m trying to get my license and I watch tv episodes on my computer. I am reminded of everything I have to do-finding a college, college applications, swimming, high school senior year, getting a license, senior pictures. My friends are so busy now with work and other things that I feel like I don’t see them much at all. I guess it is just lonely. It feels like the beginning of my exchange all over again- lonely with not much to do missing home. I miss home in 2 ways. I miss home; home being Hungary and I miss home; home being Michigan before I left. So much has changed in my life- including me- that I feel like I don’t fit into my own life. Excepting a new reality is a part of reverse culture shock and it is terrible.
So since this is my last blog I’d like everyone to know this year was by far the year of my life. I changed into a more mature, independent, loving person. I grew up and I learned so much about myself, others, and the world. I cannot put the benefits of this year into words. It was the best decision I will probably ever make to leave in August even though it killed me at the time. Leaving Michigan was the hardest thing I had ever done- but coming home and dealing with reverse culture shock is sooooooooo much worse. For any student out there who is thinking about going- do it. It will be one of the best, most rewarding things you will ever do. I loved Hungary and I loved the people I met and I will never forget them or the experiences I had. Despite all the sadness I feel now and all the lows I had while there I would do it again 1000000000000x over. It was worth it.
Lastly, to put a song to my mood.