A Life In A Year, Not A Year In A Life
Aloha, mon ami, and welcome to the first installment of my new series “A LIFE IN A YEAR”. I am seriously so excited about this post since it will kick of the telling of the most unique stories from some of the most amazing people I have been blessed to know. It will travel around the world, from the United States over Argentina and Cambodia to New Zealand and some others in between!
I figured the proper way (and since I never seem to shut up about it) to start this will be with telling you the story of my dear Hastings with its freakin’ terracotta orange bridge and too much love to bare.
Ever since my cousin did an exchange year in South Africa when I was in elementary school, I knew I wanted to do same. To me, she appeared to be this courageous adventurer that nothing could scare and I assumed that her life was perfect year around.
Though, speaking from own experience, this was most definitively not the case, I am glad to early on have the possibility of an exchange year put on my radar. It was, all throughout secondary school, set in stone for me, I will go and live abroad. Initially, I wanted to go to Australia, then got accepted to go to Panama for a year but ultimately chose Young Life Amicus, who only do exchanges to the States over my other organization.
I owe everything to my host family. These four people made me into who I am.
Hastings completely and utterly changed me. I am beyond grateful to every single person I have met, though not all were positive interactions, they were learning experiences nevertheless. Most of all, I am indebted to my host family who opened up their hearts and home to the just-turned-sixteen year old me, who taught, she had it all figured out. Boy, was I wrong. I have made many mistakes during my year but all of those were necessary to help shape me into who I am today, an independent thinker who, though very quick witted, now realizes that not everyone appreciates the same humor and that the same struggle still can set people worlds apart.
I don’t think I could start listing all the thing that I miss about my American home, I could babble on and on for days. I generally just miss who I was when I was there, living with my family and going to school and YoungLife, because yes, I can come back, and yes, the people will be the same but, I will never fully live there again. For me, that quote above holds so much truth. Whenever I talk about “missing home” or “wanting to go home”, my friends need to clarify which home I mean. It’s something so simple yet so accurately descriptive of what happens, once you live somewhere else for a year.
If you are considering living abroad for a year,
I would highly encourage you to do so. Be prepared for the best and worst of times, incredible love and incredible heartache. You will have irreplaceable memories, a whole set of lifelong friends you’d never meet otherwise and learn so much about everything, especially yourself. A year abroad is, no matter the obstacles you’ll face, the right choice since no one could ever experience what you will have experienced.
There are so many stories to tell, so many memories forever engrained in my mind… it’s hard to figure out which I intend to share and which I don’t. So for today, I am leaving it at this brief summary of a roller coaster of emotions and learning experiences. But, don’t be fooled, much more is to come.
It’s hard to figure out which I intend to share and which I don’t. So for today, I am leaving it at this brief summary of a roller coaster of emotions and learning experiences. But, don’t be fooled, much more is to come.