It's been a crazy seven months since I got back to New Mexico. The process of coming home is no less hectic than all the work that leads up to studying abroad.
To begin with, jet lag going east on the globe is AWFUL. Truly hellish. I flew from Sydney to Hawaii to meet my parents for a week (a compromise, since they didn't want to go all the way to Australia), and I was miserable the entire time. It was a bit like a really horrendous bout of PMS or the flu. Physically, I was achy, tired, and restless, with headaches and weird appetites. Emotionally, I was a wreck, swinging wildly from ecstatic to be with my family again, to crying for no reason and missing Perth (or at least, certain people in Perth), to intense, irrational, fuming outbursts of irritation that I wasn't in any of the places I longed to be yet. I've made a vow to go back to Hawaii, because I felt like I didn't revel in it like I would have, if not for my haze of near-constant discomfort.
FINALLY arriving back in Albuquerque was beautiful though. Where Sydney had been drizzly and a bit cool with spring rains, and Kona had been no discernible weather other than PERFECT at all times, Albuquerque was crisply clear in the manner of a cold desert winter. The air was biting and weightless, a resounding emptiness in my lungs beneath the pale pale blue sky.
I can still picture my home-coming very clearly, all these months later, because it was profound in it's ordinariness. The buildings out the truck window were the same as always, but the air was so different from where I had been. It felt good though, knowing I was finally home (and that I was over that damn jet lag).
Then came the "excitement" of having to deal with the two+ feet of snow that dumped on us just before Christmas (yay, shoveling the driveway on my birthday...); our puppy running away twice because she, too, had discovered a love of travel and meeting strangers; and my ruinous allergies from living in a den of animal fur again. But even these sorts of things were welcomed, because it meant I was home again and enjoying some of the things I had sorely missed. The snow meant constant wood fires to keep us warm, the stupid dog getting lost meant driving around the neighborhood in a quest to find her, and the allergies meant my cat was snuggling with me every night.
The most difficult part of coming home was dealing with friends, and the fallout from breaking up with the boyfriend I left behind in Albuquerque when I moved to Perth.
The Ultimate Pro Tip: DON'T try to date long distance. Stupid idea, invariably. I even knew this before I left, but I still didn't manage to listen to sense. Unless you are essentially married to your life-mate after years of dating, or perhaps if you are a particularly unimaginative person, you WILL change and grow as a person while on study abroad, and it's 99% likely your beau won't grow in the same direction while staying at home. It will cause you endless frustration and second-guessing and pain on all fronts. Just. Don't.
Since said previous-boyfriend was --naturally, because karma hates me-- living with some of my best friends, this resulted in a spring semester of angst and anxiety and loneliness as we essentially navigated a custody battle over our friends' free time. This was in addition to an intense semester academically, as I threw myself into some of the more difficult senior year classes AND undergraduate research for my senior thesis honors project. There was also the near-endless process of getting my credits from UWA to transfer properly (only in the past week have I MAYBE finally got it sorted out), adjusting to living with my parents again (see above mention of ex living with best friends instead of me), trying to make new friends in my classes, and desperately missing old ones.
Now you may see why this blog was on hiatus...
Pro Tip: Don't underestimate the returning home part. It can be every bit as difficult (and much less exciting) as preparing to leave home.
However, I have some plans to go back to Australia after I graduate this December. In light of that, as well as everything I've learned over the past year, I'm going to resurrect this blog. You'll already see a few of the changes I'm made to the layout, and likely more are to come.
I hope that I can share things I love with friends and family, as well as hopefully share some of the things I learned with any curious study abroad students who come this way. ^_^