Thursday, July 24, 2008

thoughts on returning home

I have been back in the states for 23 days now and have been lagging on the updates. My time here has flown by but my days have been fairly mellow. I’ve spent my time catching up on the stories I missed while afar, browsing western food and clothing isles, answering a million and one questions on my year’s experiences, reading books for pleasure, enjoying the closer time zone gaps and talking on the phone at normal hours, taking walks with my parents…life has been good.

I have spent most of my time here talking to people and all my conversations have made me thankful that I am genuinely happy doing what I am doing. I can say with honesty that I am happy both at my school and in Korea. I also can say with honesty that I do not know what my future will hold. By far the most common question I have received here is something along the lines of “when will you come back to the states?” My answer has typically been evasive, but truly stems back to that fact that I don’t know. I have loved every minute of this year and have grown tremendously from my experiences. There is a quote by Nelson Mandela that goes like this, “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” While I know that neither the states nor my friends have gone unchanged, the people who know me intimately still serve as a measuring stick of my growth. Coming home I have seen so many ways that my views have expanded and my norms have shifted. My eyes have been opened to more possibilities and endless needs as I have seen more of the world. There is so much in the world that lures me to stay away for longer. And yet, being home makes me long to be closer to family and friends. I cherish the moments I got to spend with people this break because I know that in the end, relationships are what’s important. People really pull me towards a place.

I am getting ready to leave the states in just a few days (Monday, I can’t believe it!). I am going to Japan for 6 days by myself before I head back to Korea. It will be nice to explore for a bit at the end. I am stoked to see all my Korean friends again. The wonderful but sad reality is that I now have friends all around the world. As I get physically close to some, I must leave others behind. I have thoroughly enjoyed being close to people in the states again, but am also excited to return to Daejeon. How nice it is to have so many people and places I love!!

If you are interested in seeing a facebook album I just added with some of my pics from my time in the states, follow the link below:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Filling in the gaps

It has been awhile since I updated and my mom reminded me that there are people who read my blog that do not have access to facebook (which I have updated numerous times since I have gotten home). I do not want to leave those of you who follow my blog in suspense for too long. Alas, I am posting. Since my last entry I spent 9 days in New Zealand and came home to CA. Highlights of New Zealand include skydiving, soaking in thermal pools/mudbaths in Rotorua, visits to multiple Maori performances, and having a couple from TCIS graciously show me around Auckland.

If you are interested in seeing highlight photo albums from both Australia and New Zealand, see my facebook albums below:

Just to give you a taste:
skydiving just south of Auckland

At the sheep show (one of our only rainy day options in Rotorua)

One of the world's largest thermal waterfalls at Hell's Gate (in Rotorua):

With one of my Auckland hosts, Jane, at a Maori performance :) The MoiMois were such a blessing! It was great seeing familiar faces after several weeks on my own.

I promise to post a reflection on home soon. So far, I have not really processed that I am back in the states. I am somewhat jetlagged and very lazy. Not many people are around, so I'm taking things slow and easing back in to American life. For now, I should try to get myself to sleep at a fairly normal CA time :)