Home sweet home :)

Trip Start Aug 19, 2013
1
17
Trip End Dec 13, 2013


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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm HOME!!!!!
I arrived last Friday night after a 24 hour travel day (woohoo...) to snow, frigid air, and my amazing parents (and sister!!) at the airport. The drive home that night was such a blur because of my exhaustion and disbelief that I was actually here. Pinch me!
The reality has gradually sunk in as I've been visiting family and friends and familiarizing myself with my home state of MN. Everything is in English. People can understand me. I can understand them. Everything is simple again. It's all different, yet it's all the same. 
I'm surprised how easy it's been to adjust back into my comfortable life. Turns out that 4 months is not THAT long. I still remember how to drive--even in the snow! Yet I still marvel. Buying a coffee is so fun because the barista knows what I'm talking about, and I can even make small talk with those around me. Instead of feeling like the outsider, I feel an immense connection to everyone around me. That's why being home has been so enjoyable. 
While I've been home I've also been reminiscing about study abroad. People ask me the inevitable question: how was it?! So sweet of you to ask, but I have no idea what to tell you. How could I sum up such an experience with one word? I've been resorting to the phrase "life-changing." Then people nod with understanding. I didn't go on a "vacation" to Europe. I took a physical journey, an educational journey, a spiritual journey, and an emotional journey. I'm not the same. 
I'm so proud of myself for making the leap of faith. I got on a plane 4 months ago by myself, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I was completely vulnerable, yet free. I had the beautiful opportunity to start over. 
I went to Europe for many reasons, but I think my biggest goal was self-discovery. I wanted the world to affect me. Because of this, I learned about myself in ways many people do not. 
 
Things I've learned about myself while studying abroad:
1. My strength. Throughout my time abroad, I dealt with many challenges. They varied from the mundane to the overwhelming. I have found that my ability to absorb shock, pain, and difficulty is remarkable. My spirit never gives up. I believe that strength is deeply connected to attitude. My positivity allowed me to take the full advantage of the experience. With strength and positivity, I grew wise. 
2. My flexibility. Before I left America I would have considered myself quite a control freak. I was organized, with to-do lists and plans for everything. The routine I hated so much was dictated by myself. It was a habit I needed to break. When travelling, many things are out of control. I had to let go of the reins and let it all play out. Flexibility allows for freedom, full immersion, and surprises. It truly is the best way to live life. 
3. My independence. While I've always considered myself to be an independent person, this trait developed a lot while I was abroad. No one was there to take care of me and I had no one to take care of. I made decisions for myself, which is so exhilarating. More importantly, I realized that I could deal with a lot on my own. I could depend on myself for anything. With that knowledge, I truly feel as though I could take on the world. Maybe I will :) 
 
From here, I'm hoping I continue to strive for more in daily life. I don't want to settle for routine or boredom. I want to see the world with new eyes, every day. There is so much to see!
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Comments

Uncle Kevin on

Katelyn, when I see you at Christmas, I will not have to ask you how your trip was....because I will know! I have followed your blog these past 4 months, and have enjoyed your travels and your thoughts on life away from home. I remember out conversation at the cabin bonfire last summer, and now this adventure is a wonderful memory. May you have many more positive adventures in your future. Welcome home!

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