Coming to Ground: Reorientation of a Post-Abroad Owl

Allow me to preface by saying that returning to Rice has been awesome. Abroad was a whirlwind of new experiences which I am sure to cherish for years to come, but now I am finally back in Houston with my close friends who I haven’t spoken to face-to-face in months. Almost more importantly, I’m finally back in the welcoming arms of queso (oh, how I’ve missed you, molten cheese).

Back at a bastion of quesodom in Houston. We basked in the sunset (and the bright future of our meal) for a moment, before heading inside to chow down.

But things are different now. Not only for me, whose worldview is completely changed after three months of independence and foreign frolicking. My friends, too, have been going through months of various experiences (both highs and lows) without me there personally to talk to them, offer them support, and of course tease them on occasion. How does one go about making up for lost time, as well as the variety of experiences which have made us fundamentally changed people since August?

Coming back from abroad, I find myself straddling two different worlds. In Houston, I’m greeted with the regular issues: homework, social life, working. However, after the long days spent in the classroom and out, applying to internships and de-stressing through nights out and movie nights in, I lie down to sleep and think of abroad. How drastically different life was then.

My final night in London, as seen from the Tower of London. How does one reconcile such an independent, carefree life abroad with the subsequent support network and more stressful life waiting back at home?

Above all, I have been trying to keep things in perspective. I often reach out to friends I met abroad (some of my British “mates”, funnily enough, are studying abroad at various institutions in the United States!) Additionally, I strive to remember what I learned abroad: that struggles one goes through are mere blips in the greater scheme of things. Naturally, this does not mean to cast them aside as inconsequential, but rather to keep things in perspective. Remember that it is often the little things which are of fundamental importance, and (I know, cliché and bloggy as you can get) it’s not the destination which is important, but the journey you take to get there.

I’m continuing this journey of self-discovery back at Rice. I am happy to be back but also miss London. A mixture of emotions which are in a constant cycle of contradiction and reconciliation. I cherish the manifold experiences I had abroad but also realize the importance of the work I do stateside, perhaps now even more than I did before. While I remain unsure about where my path will lead, I know that the choices I make every day are fleshing out the journey which will thrust me into the future!

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