A year has come and gone. I now stand on the brink of returning to a world where I’ll be surrounded by the paradox of everything, and yet nothing, being the same. I will reluctantly give my last hugs and fight back the tears, say goodbye to the people who were once just names on a sheet of paper. Only to return to the people I hugged and fought tears to say goodbye to, before I ever left. I will leave my best friends to return to my best friends. I will leave my friends whose pure kindness and endless encouragement inspired me to get out of bed each morning and go to school when all I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry.
I will return to the same friends whose random emails and phone calls have brought me to both joyous tears and uncontrollable laughter over the year. I will collect together my treasured memories and my newfound dreams and stash them away somewhere special, saving them for my return to this world. I will unpack old dreams and memories that have been stored away for the past year. I will go back to the places that I came from and go back to the same things I did before I became another me. I will hold tightly to my heart the inspiration that I’ve gained from my world experiences, and, with that in hand, I will aspire to fulfill the goals that I’ve conjured up over a lifetime. I now know the meaning of true friendship. I’ve fallen in love, I’ve had my heart broken. I now know who I hold dearest in my heart. I’ve left my fairytale world to deal with the real world. Not long from now, I will leave. Not long from now, I will have to reach deep down inside to find the strength and courage to encounter yet another life changing adjustment and come out a stronger person because of the struggle. As I walk into my old bedroom, a fusion of every possible emotion will explode inside me as I reflect on the way my life has changed and the rich person I’ve blossomed into. I embrace life. I will never stop learning.
I see the world as it is. But things change, and with time I’ll realise how much I’ve changed.
The things that held the highest importance for me a year ago don´t seem to matter anymore, and the things I hold high now no one at « home » will truly understand. And then I’ll finally grasp that the hardest part of being an exchange student is to balance my two contrasting worlds, trying desperately to hold on to everything, whilst also figuring out where it is that I truly belong. And somehow, one way or another, I’ll have to find my place in this world.
Not long from now…. will I be ready ?
Karly, Le Mans / Un an en France