This is it. Almost a year and half ago, I left America for Asia, fresh-eyed and optimistic. Clueless about what would happen there, but excited nonetheless. I had no expectations. Now I'm at the end of it, and my head is overflowing with new ideas and opinions about everything. I could go on and on about what I've learned, but I'll spare you a lot of it.
I left home to make myself as vulnerable and insecure as possible by taking away all the familiarity that being home cacoons me with. I wanted to learn my boundaries so I could defy them. I'm not sure if I've accomplished any of this, although maybe I'm making a start. One thing is for sure though--exploring Asia woke me up.
Never in my life have I been more aware of myself, of life and the of world. My strengths and-- especially--my weaknesses. How much potential there is in life. All the opportunities in the world. It makes me so excited, my head feels like it's going to explode.
How did this all happen? It's not just because I was in a new country with new people (undoubtedly this is the fundamental part of it though). It's seems more than that. I believe that a lot of it has to do with the solitude. The isolation from everything I've ever known. No one pressured me to leave. If anything, there were some who discouraged me to leave, or at least were baffled as to why I chose this path. No one was with me from the beginning to the end. In spirit, yes. But in the physical, no. No friends from home. No boyfriend. No roomate. No co-worker. Every single decision has been mine. All the mistakes and successes were solely mine.
In the past I mostly kept this to myself, but now I'm not afraid to say that my time abroad, occasionally, put me in a dark place. I don't think I've ever experienced more dissappointments in my personal life than during my time in Japan. And this isn't a direct result of the country at all. Death. Love. Family. Old friends. New friends. Details are boring. I just left home at a bizaare time in my life. Many people stood by me, and some even tried to help. A few walked away. Most didn't suspect a thing.
Make no mistake. There are no slit wrists here. It seems like the worst is over and I'm slowly surfacing, noticing so much about life like it's my first time. Luckily, I had so many unforgettable, phenomenal, life-changing, unbelievable experiences to enlighten me. This blog doesn't do justice to my time away. It only scratches the surface. How can I describe what it's like to see Laos women faithfully get on their knees at dawn to sacrifice food to monks? Or how I felt when my tiny Japanese students walked me home, as far home as their parents would let them? Or what the sunrise over an unspoiled Malaysian island looks like? Or how many eye-opening conversations I've had with Russians, Singaporians, Isrealis, Dutch, Thais, Australians, Colombians, Welsh, Angolans...?
I'm finally awake and I'm coming home.
*I'm a private person. I tend to shy away from revealing personal info, the real stuff, that makes me "Christine," on my blog. After all, its a public website! But, I think I'm going to make an exception this time as to commemorate my homecoming. Plus, I owe to you guys--the people who have kept up with me the whole way through. Thanks for reading!