Experiencing life after studying abroad is just as important as experiencing life while abroad. Remember that. Do not merely recite it to yourself like an empty hymn whose meaning is beyond you, know it in your heart and believe it to be true. This life, this revised, rejuvenated, re-imagined life after your time abroad is precisely why you left in the first place, remember? You wanted to gain experiences to change your perspective in your every day life. You wanted to see how others lived so that you could appreciate or change your own day to day routine, your rituals, the basic ideas you held about anything and everything. Don't forget that.
I left behind a perfect life in Cape Town. People I couldn't imagine loving more, scenery that had me lost in my own thoughts for hours, a culture that restored my waning faith in humanity. It was everything I needed at the time I needed it the most. I've been home for almost three weeks now, and honestly, it would be all too easy for me to tell you that I'm miserable. Craving so many things that are absolutely unreachable is exhausting. But, I refuse to give in to that sort of mindset. I refuse to be so entwined in the past, so full of longing and nostalgia that I have no room for appreciation of the present. It might not come naturally, or easily, but, there's just no sense in wasting this time being mentally stuck in Cape Town - especially when where I am is a sort of paradise in itself. Plus, there's a certain energy that flows through you as you immerse yourself in the memories of home. My parents still live in the house that they raised us in, and all of those years come back as a flood of positivity. Memories of laugh attacks, pillow fights that lead to broken arms, obstacle courses in the backyard and endless family meals riddled with the chaos that comes from having five very different people in one family are good for my soul and they remind me why it's not so bad to be home. Why I should be appreciative of where I am, despite what or who I am missing.
And, there are new reasons to love home, or a new reason I should say. Caden Christopher Gaines was born just a few days after I flew home. On June 16th, after many painful hours of anticipation, Caden arrived and I fell in love instantly. It's unbelievable that not only is my brother CJ married, but now has a child of his very own to love and look after.
So, I might have left my ideal life back in South Africa. But, there is something special about every moment, no matter where you are. The challenge is finding it and truly appreciating it, no matter how awesome the rest of the world is.
Live in the moment,