I didn’t particularly want to go home. I was the happiest I’d ever been in Spain. I was afraid if I left I would lose this new self that I’d grown into. I had never felt so content, peaceful and satisfied. I surprised, even impressed, myself that I could live so simply. I loved little Garrucha, and more importantly, I loved the person I’d become there.
So I knew coming home could be a difficult transition. And it’s been filled with a lot of ups and downs. One day I’ll be so over the moon stupid happy that I’m home with my family and friends, the next I’ll feel like a wandering lost soul that doesn’t belong.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy to be home and see all these incredible people that I’ve been blessed to have in my life, people that I’ve missed for 8 months, but it’s a jolt.
(bare with me, I promise the last half of this entry is better)
I’m desperately trying to hold on to my Spain self, yet trying to fit back in here at the same time.
Home doesn’t really feel like home anymore. (I cringe thinking of my mother reading this, and hope my words don’t hurt her feelings. I of course love her and my family very dearly. And of course southern California will always be “home” to me.) But I crave my sense of freedom and independence that Spain brought. To me, that was my new home.
So while I’ve been filling my time with lots of long awaited catch-up time with friends that have been so lovely, I’ve also being keeping busy with things that I know don’t matter in the long run, going out, drinking more often that I normally would, shopping, boys, and other distractions that I know are ultimately not high on my priority list, but they keep me from losing my mind so far.
I know I’ll adjust. But right now, I feel adrift.
There was a breezy happiness that filled my days in Spain. Life was simple. My town was tiny. I mean, I had like, 4 friends. But it was enough. Coming home to all the relentless stimulation is a little exhausting, people do so much here all the time. And all that is great, I enjoy all that stuff… but sometimes it’s nice to just sit, chat, do nothing, and enjoy it.
Or ya know, just sleep in 🙂
As I’m writing this entry even, I have nothing to do, not immediately at least, but there’s a long list of things I could be doing that gives me just that itch of anxiety. In my head, there is always something more productive I could be doing in California. In Spain, that anxiety was nonexistent.
In Spain I couldn’t hide from who I was. And once I recognized who I was inside, it became easier to try to accept and change who I was and wanted to be. I’m still working on it.
I knew that it would be hard to continue my “off the beaten path” path, but fuck, sometimes it’s tough to stick to your guns.
I sent in all my paperwork to South Korea today (I’m really going!! Eek!) and I went to my Dad’s house to print and copy some stuff, and when he asked me how I was doing I just broke down in tears. I’m not complaining, I know I don’t have real problems, I know I’m crazy lucky and I’m really excited about my new adventure, but I also freaking scared. I’m going to ASIA. (AHHH!) And now that I have my job lined up, in my head I’m like, “Wait, I didn’t want to leave so soon. There’s still people I want to spend time with here.”
I know that the scared feeling will pass. This is how I felt before I left for Spain, so it’s familiar. I’m aware that I’ll probably be depressed the first month or so in Korea because it will be harder than Spain. Then I’m sure I’ll love it. If I were going back to Spain I’d be kicking back, cool as a cucumber. I’ve done Spain. Spain and I are homies now. It’s familiar and comfortable. Korea is all foreign, it’s a language I never dabbled in in high school, and it’s people I look nothing like.
I’ll stand out and it’ll feel like the anomaly, because I will be. But that’s what I wanted, I wanted to push myself.
Sometimes I think about, why I am doing this? I know I once wanted this with all my whole being. But now that I’m home and realizing I have to leave so much sooner than I had anticipated, sight of my goal is becoming foggy. I worry, am I only doing this because I’ve finally found something I’m good at? Something that people admire me for? Does that intangible approval from others give me a sense of accomplishment that ultimately will not fulfill me?
And then I strain to remember the times in Spain when I had no care for what others thought, when I was so happy and away from everything, away from media and stimulation, and knew, knew in my heart of hearts, that Korea was what I wanted. I’ve always been interested in things I know little about. Asia is different. That appeals to me. It would be easier, more exciting for everyone else if I went back to Spain, like I’ve said, Europe is cooler, and give everyone who said they wanted to visit and never did another change to go. Or move to Italy, my other back up plan. Not many people are stoked that I’m going to Korea. This is clearly my own choice.
And then I also think, am I doing Korea because I feel like I have nothing else to be proud of besides traveling and working abroad? Am I choosing hard, off the grid choices because I want to keep succeeding in the seemingly only thing career-wise that makes me special? Is that narcissistic of me to even have these thoughts? Why do I deserve to feel special? Do I want to do this only so that I can prove to myself that I can, so that I can build my confidence in a most extreme way? By throwing myself into a completely foreign ocean and letting myself flounder until I learn to swim?
Friends often tell me that I’m brave, but I’m really not. I’m just chasing this thing that makes me feel alive. What would be brave of me is to go back to school, hunker down, and study my ass off. I’m interested in so many things! Because I know I’m smart enough, I’m just not sure I’m self-disciplined enough to pull it off. School was hard for me. And it was hard for me to finish. I don’t want to go back and fail at it. I also don’t want to go back to school then graduate just to decide I want to move abroad again, and then be ball-and-chained to my student loans and unable to leave again.
And then between all this I have moments of happiness and excitement and I can’t wait to be free again! Small moments, sandwiched between the self-doubt, barely squeezing through.