It Wasn’t Meant To Be Forever
Bittersweet doesn’t even cover this end of semester. I want to say that on one side it’s one of the happiest funniest times of the year. The sun is back, warming up our lousy moods of winter and exams are slowly finishing. Every day can be a beach day, disposable barbecues are popping up left right and centre, it’s just fun and more fun. We go back to doing the exact same things we were procrastinating with during exams only without the guilt. Going out and wasting the next day in bed with friends becomes the new norm.On the other side however I also can’t deny the sadness and slight anxiety that I wake up with in my chest every morning, to the thought that the days are counting down and that today another person might leave. Another piece of the puzzle that has been this year.
All good things come to an end they say and I wish that saying didn’t exist.
A wise friend here said to us all, in a moment when we were daydreaming about how it would be to stay on our years abroad for years to come, “The reason why this is so special is because it wasn’t meant to be forever”.
And it is true. A year abroad is about you fitting in the space of a year (or six months for some) every experience under the sun. Every feeling on the spectrum. Every trip and every adventure you possibly can. As dramatic as this may sound, you ultimately live as if this was your last year.
You live in a sort of time capsule where you can be whoever you decide to be, you can start over, improve or reinvent yourself. And no one, no one will have a word to say about it. I have lived my whole year abroad with my friends with the motto: “It’s our year abroad! Just do it”. A sort of cooler, less lame, more exciting kind of “YOLO”. And from that mentality, it drove us outside of our comfort zone and made us do, text, act and live in ways we had never risked before. Friendships and relationships are all heightened by the year abroad factor and the constant subconscious thought of ‘this is going to come to an end’.
I believe it has made us fearless and has given us lessons to learn but I can say with all certainty that I have never, as of today, been happier or felt more myself than I ever have before.
Leaving for a year abroad is daunting, there is no going around it. You leave for the unknown and when you come back you think you are going back to your safety blanket of your previous life. But you’re not. I read somewhere that the price we pay for this wonderful year of our lives is that you will never be home again and you will miss the person you were at that moment in time and I believe that.
As sad and terrible as that might sound I would also not have it any other way. I would rather not feel at home ever again if it means I can call many places my home. I’d rather long the person I was than remain the same old me. I’d rather proudly say I now have friends on every continent than to say the contrary. Throw any downside to a year abroad at me and I will still tell you that probably nothing will outweigh how we are better versions of ourselves because of it.
So as this semester ends, I think I can talk for everyone about that weird feeling no one can quite describe. The happiness and excitement of finishing exams, of seeing the finish line of a year abroad we had no certainty about. But also the surprise of how fast it has come to an end and how we feel we might just want to rewind a little. Going home is also something to look forward to and not at the same time. And don’t even get me started on friends. The friends that have become family and who you have been counting on this whole year might move back to your neighbouring country or the other side of the ocean. Thinking how these people have absolutely made my year and will no longer be a part of my daily life breaks my heart a little. But I cannot believe and put words on how lucky and happy I feel to have met them and knowing that some will remain in my life forever.
In the hopes that this blog post isn’t too sad and that it lets you see how a year abroad can fulfil you incredibly, I will say to anyone from BI reading this right now, I thank you for playing a part in this year abroad of mine no matter how small or big it was. Thank you for being part of the puzzle.