Thursday, March 20, 2014

As One Journey Ends, Another Begins

March 10th

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. The city seemed so big and I felt so small. Everything was cold and uninviting. Four strangers stared at me as I sat nervously on my bed in the living room  thinking to myself that all I wanted was for this to be over so I could go to Florida. Flash forward seven weeks. This city seems so small, but not in a bad way. I know its ins and outs, the good parts the bad parts, the cool parts and the eh nothing to see there parts. This is home. I've never been to a place that's become such a part of me, especially in this short of a time. The strangers I met on the first day are way more than that to me now. They're friends, roommates, and my family away from home. I would give anything to stay here with them longer (and I even looked into it but holy moly was changing my flight expensive!). Even though I am starting a new adventure in Florida, it's hard to be excited when I'm so heartbroken about leaving this amazing country that now means so much to me. It's hard to imagine anything ever comparing to this beautiful place and all the amazing experiences I've had here. "How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" as hard as it is to move on from this chapter in my life, there's no way around it, but it's nice knowing that when I go a piece of my heart will always be here in South Africa.

It was really hard to come to terms with the fact that I had been able to do so many cool things while I was in the country, and there were still so many that I wouldn’t be able to do if I left. I'm sitting here terrified thinking that nothing I ever do will be as amazing as this experience or top it, and if I continue to have that attitude, then nothing will. Life is all about what you make it. There's beauty in everything, you just have to choose to see it. Sometimes you might have to look harder for adventure than others, but it's always there. I think that’s definitely something that this trip has taught me, that no matter where you are you can find something cool to do if you actually put the effort into finding it and making it fun. Growing up I always used to think Ohio was such a lame place, and now after being gone for so long, I have this weird newfound pride for all things Ohio.


I mean what is home when you really think about it? The place you grew up? Your current place of residence? If there's anything college and especially these last 7 weeks has helped me figure out is that home to me means more of a level of comfort than a physical place. Home is somewhere you're comfortable. Where you fit. Where you're happy. When you're having a bad day the place and the people that will in a sense hold you and make it better. Home isn't a building, it's a mindset.

I have this fear. This growing anxiety that there's so much out there to see and experience and I won't reach enough  of it. A fear that I'll stay in one place too long, settle in too much to ever bring myself to say goodbye and see what else is out there waiting. I like The idea of living on impulse, just picking up and leaving when it feels right, not when a job or the world dictates i have too. Life is way too short to not make the most of every second. Too short to sit by and just exist, just survive. Routine is a scary thing. It's addicting in the level of comfort it provides. Think about it, you're trained to think you need to graduate high school, get a degree, get a job, make it a career, have a family because thats how everyone else does it. Wake up go to work come home eat sleep and repeat... Every day for the rest of your life. I'm so terrified of falling into that trap. I need to know I have the freedom to change my mind any second. If I'm not happy i want to go find something that will make me happy. Can it really be that easy though?  Of course I want to work with kids, but I'm starting to question if teaching is the way I want to do it, or the way I'm meant to do it. What if there's some greater plan out there for me? And I'll never know unless I try to go find it. There's this quote about how you'll never know where you belong if you sit around and stay in the same place or something like that. What if this is like that? What if I get a teaching job, settle into a career, a routine, and I never break the cycle and there was this whole other great thing out there waiting for me I never knew about. I refuse to sit around and let life pass me by. Who knows what that means for me yet, and who knows if that will all change by the time Florida is done with me. Isn't it interesting to think about how a place can change you? Sure you might go trying to make an impact and you might succeed, but in the end you always leave changed. A place has the capability to gobble you up, swallow you whole and spit you out shiny and new. To take what you are and tweak it just a bit to make it that much better. And you always seem to leave a piece of you behind. A piece of your heart that will never stop loving that place for everything it was and for every little way it impacted you. You love it with such an ache to return that you can almost feel the hole leaving has left. That's what South Africa did to me. It Knocked me off my feet and left me breathless and craving more. sure it was hard sometimes, but no matter where you are or what you're doing that happens. I just cant help but wondering What if that's my place? What if that's where I belong? I never imagined a place could captivate every part of me like that, and I have this burning feeling that no  place will ever do that again.

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