I have now been home from my study abroad adventures for about a month and a half. It’s truly insane how fast the time has gone by, but it boggles my mind even more thinking about what a truly short time ago it was that I was in an entirely different place. Being back has been weird, but good overall. I’ve seen my Grandparents (Grandma is my number one blog fan and will probably be pleasantly surprised to find another entry.) and have managed to catch up with an extraordinary amount of people, most of whom have made the first move. I have been crazy running around trying to get everything in order for graduation. I’m nearly there. All of my credits etc have been accounted for. I just have to finish my thesis. I am working on it…but it comes out the best when I just let myself have time for my mind to wander back over the last year. I remember things that happened that I can write about at the weirdest times. Oddly, I do my best thesis thinking in the shower. Something about shampoo and hot water seems to be conducive to overwhelming moments of clarity and inspiration. I can’t remember if this has always been the case or if it is a relatively new development, but I’m going to go with it.
As for updates, I’m not sure I have much to say. I realize that my reading audience has probably shifted dramatically. For all of 2008 I was writing for my family and friends back home to try to explain to them what I was up to (and to get out of sending 93849257 emails…) but now, my friends and family in the US have it easy. They can contact me any time. After I left Spain this blog was, in theory, supposed to keep them updated too, but by writing in English I effectively ostracized them…though a few, I know, have incredible English skills and will probably continue reading this anyway. So it’s now time to begin writing to the rest of the world and turn my face backward toward the places from which I came. Perhaps in this way, I will be able to render my day-to-day US life as interesting to them as my Spanish/Australian life was to my friends and family here. This will be a challenge because I will have to look at my life through different eyes. It was easy to write about a year being away as exciting because I actually did think it was exciting. Being home never seems as exciting to you as it might to someone else. I’ll give it my best shot and, as usual, it’s best to begin at the beginning.
Getting home was a relief after hours and hours of flying. It all went extremely well though. I had never noticed the enormous sign at Newark International Airport before (either right before or right after going through customs. I can’t entirely remember which it was at the moment) but the silver lettering hanging above a corridor, clearly meant for accommodating thousands of people each day, had a simple elegance that was tasteful and exciting. It said, quite simply "Welcome to the United States of America." Perhaps I was delerious from lack of sleep, an inordinate amount of in-flight movies and flying the long way around the world, but the sign made me feel good. I felt like it was directed specifically at me. Getting through customs was easy. I wasn’t even nervous at all. The customs official was slightly taken aback when my answer to "how long have you been out of the country" was "one year." She said, pulling back her surprise considerably quickly, "What were you doing?"
I got my luggage without any problems. A year of constant flying without once getting your baggage lost or damaged HAS to be some kind of record. I am one lucky college student.
When I walked out into the arrivals terminal I saw Aunt Betsy, Emily and my Dad waiting for me. It was a great little welcoming posse and they were all astonished at how little I had brought home with me. I only had my backpack, a purse and my little duffel bag. I assured Emily and Aunt Betsy that my mom had brought home most of my stuff with her, but even Dad, who saw what Mom brought home, was pretty impressed with the tiny-ness of my luggage. Daniel showed up late but excited tosee me and we all left the airport. I was excited at the prospect of not using an airport for a while.
I’ve been to see my older brother in New York twice. The first time was something of an event. It was right after I got back into the country. I was jet lagged and exhausted (redundancy of the month) but I knew I had a limited time to relax and do fun things before I had to buckled down at school. So I stayed the night in Brooklyn after hanging out with Daniel and Emily and seeing John and Meaghan for the first time in a year. Daniel’s place in Brooklyn is awesome and I went home the next day very glad I had gotten to spend some time with him before going back to school.
School and work has been hectic but rewarding. I dropped down to part-time senior status…which pretty much means that you get to chill a little bit after completing more than enough credits to graduate on time. I’m taking Portuguese for Speakers of Spanish as well as Intro to Linguistic Theory. It counts as Math…er…"Quantitative Reasoning." I like both my classes and the work load does not take away too much from Thesis-ing…I’m on the right track with the thesis…or so says my advisor. I believe her and I’m happy with what I’ve eventually decided to do. It’s more of a creative project which makes me confident that I will be able to finish it on time. Perhaps once I am done writing it, I’ll write more about it here. Work at the Recruitment Office has been good too. I’m glad I hav the structure of a job in my week…and the pay check doesn’t hurt either. The first few weeks of school were crazy with running around but now there is more of a rhythm established. It’s going really quickly though.
I went to New York on Friday to see Daniel again and we spent the evening first seeing Ania’s new baby girl! She is gorgeous!!!!! And then we went on to spent the rest of the night with good wine and good company. Daniel is getting ready to interview for some jobs. My bro is going to be a professor! Hooray! I wish him the best of luck this weekend.
Ultimately I suppose I miss traveling, but I more miss the people that I left behind. I’m quite happy to remain in one place for a while until I finish what I need to finish. The year was unbelieveable and now I get to start a new one. 🙂