Going abroad is exciting and terrifying. One of the things I was most worried about when getting ready to go was how I was going to be coming back. Everyone always talks about how much you change while abroad and I didn't really know what they meant, I didn't think it was going to happen. But what I've learned is that you do change. Being in a different culture with entirely new places and faces for an extended period of time changes you. Experiencing different ways of life and how to live on your own outside of your comfort zone forces you to learn a lot about yourself. And taking that time to learn about yourself changes you.
I currently have 27 days left in Australia. The idea of coming home is quite daunting at this point. I go back and forth between never wanting to leave, and wanting nothing more than to be home. A lot of my anxiety surrounding the situation has to do with the idea that I've changed since I've been here. Being away from home for five months is a long time and I know for a fact that I am not returning the same person that I was when I left. I am happy that I changed, I think I grew for the better, not the worse. However, I do think it will be an adjustment for everyone, myself included, once I get home because the people and things I am familiar with there could have changed as well. So, I thought I'd make a list of all the things that I see different in myself that make me happy. Here goes.
~ I don't curl or straighten my hair anymore
~ I have a wonderful skin care routine now, and I've done it almost every single night since being here without fail (witch hazel is a life saver)
~ My hair has grown about 4 inches (and I don't want to cut it like I usually do)
~ I almost never wear makeup
~ My new favorite color is yellow
~ I like sun dried tomatoes
~ I willingly eat sushi
~ I adore my new tattoo
~ I've stopped caring what other people think about me
~ I've only weighed myself once since being here
~ I avidly listen to podcasts now (personal favorites are 'Guys We F**ked' and 'Armchair n Expert'
~ I stopped the dialogue in my head that kept telling me I couldn't do things
~ I eat breakfast now
~ I finally allowed myself to let go of toxic people
~ I started reading more
~ I became more confident in my work
~ I became more confident in myself
~ I became less scared of confrontation
~ I faced my fears and anxieties instead of running from them
~ I went parasailing
~ I swam in the ocean
~ I started writing more
~ I began new projects
~ I tried new foods
~ I made new friends
~ I started saying yes more than no
~ I'm not nervous to wear a leather jacket anymore
~ I realized that it's okay to give a shit (aka: caring about people/things/places/anything is cool)
~ I caved and realized that I am indeed a hufflepuff (not a slytherin-even tho part of me still might be so the laptop sticker is staying)
~ I became content with myself
~ I learned to love myself
This list is a giant mixture of the most minuscule achievements and revelations and the hardest insecurities I've ever had to overcome. But the common thread of all of them is that I finally allowed myself to be happy. For a long time I didn't let myself be happy, I would make excuses as to why I couldn't be or why I had to keep toxic
people in my life. But in the past five months I took time to be a little selfish and focus on myself. Now I never want to talk or think myself out of happiness again. I hope you all can do the same.
If you are going abroad anytime soon and you're just as worried about change as I was here's my advice: don't fear change, embrace it and know that you're going to be a better person because of it.
Selfie from the day I left for Australia with my family.
The most recent selfie in my phone from Australia.
PS. If you live in America, please vote in the upcoming midterm election. There's never an excuse not to vote.