It seems like 6 months into my exchange was a lifetime ago, and now being back for 6 months I feel like life has fast-forwarded on me. What have I been up to since being back in Canada you may ask? Well, I spent my summer working up in northern Ontario, then after only two weeks at home I moved into University and have entered the world of constant stress.
Sometimes it's hard for me to understand and feel what is really "home" to me right now. I've only spent 4 weeks at "home" and in "my room", but now it doesn't really feel right. Is my dorm room my new home? Or is Chile my home? It's so hard to place myself now, with so many connections and memories, especially in Chile, it's so hard to let go.
Being a rebound is probably the hardest part of the exchange process. Honestly there isn't a day that goes by that I don't have a thought about Chile, my friends, and life there. It took me a while to stop crying on a daily basis, but in truth it still happens a lot. Yeah we all need to move-on in life but there's still a big part of my heart and soul in Chile. There's also the difficulty of not annoying or boring people with your stories although you can't help it when they just slip-out.
I know it seems silly (especially because I live with 11 people) but sometimes I feel so isolated and lonely. The people who I have confided in the most are so far away from me, and when I'm feeling homesick for Chile who really wants to hear about it? I truly believe that some of my best friends who I could absolutely be myself around are still in Chile, and there is little chance for me to see them anytime soon. Hopelessness and lack of motivation are also taking a toll on me. Yeah, so I'm in university, "a time to discover who you are", I've already been there, done that, but without the educational discipline.
I never wanted to loose that spark that I had while on exchange, so livid and ready to learn and explore. But in reality I may have fallen into a rut, I feel stuck, and it's not the first time. I think most rebounds experience this feeling, whether it be a short occurrence or an ongoing battle of trying to fit back in. We've experienced and lived through so much at a young age, and then we come back to our homeland and realize that nothing has really changed, life is going on like you had planned before you went abroad.
A month ago I had started to think about this whole grand-inspiring blog post about being back for six months and what I have experienced, but here I am rambling on about how sad I am - poor ex-exchange student who got to live in a foreign country and is now in reality wah wah wah. Heck, I doubt anyone will even read this post now that I have no funny and exciting stories to share.
Anyways I thought I would give and update into the on-going life of an exchange student - now a rebound. If there are future or current exchange students who happen to be reading this don't be discouraged, all of the emotions of the pre, during, and after exchange will all be worth it one day.
As for me right now I'm concentrated on trying to survive and pass first-year university, enjoy the winter and snow that have been absent from my life for almost 2 years. and maybe plan a foreign travel in the near-ish future. On wednesday I'll be presenting my Rotary presentation about my exchange - let's all hope that I don't cry during the middle of it!
On a side note Rotary District 7080 is facing a serious dilemma, the future of Youth Exchange in district 7080 is at risk. Due to a decrease of volunteer host-families, the district will be unable to host many students and in return will be sending out less students, or even have to shutdown the program. If you have never thought about being a host-family before it's not to late to have a great experience wherever you may be. Just a friendly reminder to open your home to a friendly exchange student!
With that I will leave you with a video that I had put together a while ago with a bunch of photos from a boat-ride on my Patagonia trip!