It’s 7 a.m.
A month ago, I was waking up at this time to get ready for class in Malta, a routine I’d established for the past year. A week and a half ago I was up at this time, ready to hike between the towns of Cinque Terre in Italy. A couple days ago I was up at this time, getting ready for a day of wine and cava tasting in Barcelona.
Today, I woke up in my parents’ house in Santa Clarita.
I wondered, as I was sardined between the cliché snoring old man and sleep-talking woman during my 20-hour flight home from Istanbul to Los Angeles, how it would feel to first touch down in the good ol’ U.S. of A after being away for a year. It’s going to be strange, I thought. Everything. Seeing everyone again. Just going home, being back in my old life. Not having a completely new and different adventure to face each and every day, or being faced with the constantly changing surroundings of travel.
It’s been about a day since I’ve been home and I’m asked how it feels. The past year has felt like a dream, that’s really the best way I can put it. Just a really long, amazing dream.
Though being back at home, especially in my parents’ house, is strange — I can’t remember the last time we had the whole family home, piling in the minivan on a Sunday morning to head to breakfast — this is home. It’s a place that will always feel familiar. And right now, it feels good to be back.
And although my last year has been obviously pretty eventful, just because I’m home now from this whirlwind Europe experience doesn’t mean the excitement ends, I know this. I have so much to look forward to now and in the next year, opportunities that this past year has led me to and prepared me for.
But for now, I’m still recovering from jet lag and a fever that developed over my flight home. I’m still getting used to and making sense of being home. “Reverse culture shock” is what they call it. That should be settling in soon, too, right?