Returning from Abroad

Returning to the US after being abroad for several months was an odd experience. To make it even stranger, I woke up sick the morning of my flight back to the US, and after a full day of flying and airports with an eye infection and a nasty cold, I spent the first week I was home holed up recovering. By the time I got back out into the “real world,” it had already started to feel like the entire “Australia experience” had been some hazy fever dream. It still amazes me how distance from a place can make experiences there seem surreal, especially when you’re also removed from the people you shared those experiences with. The only person in the US who was in Australia with me was Tasha, another OU student who stayed at the same apartment complex as me during our semester there. I meet her occasionally now for lunch so we can reminisce together and feel a little less alone and distant from all those experiences, because spending half a year abroad like that leaves a lot of memories that are really worth remembering and revisiting, but it’s hard to do that without someone else to share the memories with. That may be the hardest part of coming back, you’re left with all these incredible experiences and memories, but few if any people to share them with. No matter how well you can tell the stories to your friends or parents back home, they’ll never really know what it was like. It’s like telling a joke out of context, the distance just makes it lose something in translation, and I really struggled with that my first few weeks back. Even now, six months later, it feels even more like Australia was just a dream. It seems like time just skipped, I missed OU in the fall, a full semester of classes – this entire semester I referred to last spring as “last semester,” as though fall never happened. I fell right back in with my friends, which was great, but it also made that semester abroad seem even more surreal. How could I see and do and learn so much, then come back and find everything almost exactly as I left it? I’m completely adjusted to being home by now – I have been for months – but every once in a while the strangeness of the whole situation still stirs in the back of my mind. I’m sure as time passes that will happen less and less, but it makes me sad that all those memories are fading so fast, and will likely continue to do so. Hopefully I can go back someday and refresh some of them.

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So this is the slightly awkward place where I'm supposed to describe myself in like two sentences. I am a Chemistry/Pre-Vet major aiming to become a zoo vet someday. I'm into BBC shows, fantasy novels, and staying up way too late with my roommates. I spent a summer in Italy studying organic chemistry and getting lost on the train system, and now I'm in Australia, studying instrumental chemistry and getting lost on the bus system. I guess some things never really change.

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