I’ve now been back in the good ol’ US of A for about a month – a month filled of happiness, great food, and some confusing transitioning moments.
Happy times back in Tejas
So far, time at my lovely home in Texas has been filled with some great moments. I absolutely love spending time with family and I have missed my parent’s home cooking! Yesterday we celebrated Father’s Day in our traditional Sunday night way – with a cookout. Afterwards, we headed over to Steel City Pops for the best popsicles in the world.
This summer, I’m also working at my first ever big-girl internship for Fort Worth Sister Cities! The Sister Cities Program basically functions as the international department for Fort Worth. I even get my own office in the City Hall Annex Building downtown! This month, I have been working hard on planning for FWISD and Sister Cities’ Spanish Immersion Camp. Currently, 10 college-age facilitators from our sister city Toluca, Mexico are visiting Fort Worth and teaching a group of 70 FWISD elementary schoolers Spanish! The students are so extremely intelligent and speak incredible Spanish – I’m jealous!
I also got to take a little getaway trip with my boyfriend, Harrison, for his birthday trip. I found this adorable Airbnb out in the country in Texas on a cattle ranch. We spent the weekend exploring the property, cooking some great food, feeding the animals (INCLUDING AN ALPACA NAMED PERCY), and doing yoga on the backporch. It was such a relaxing getaway!
Transitioning back home
Time abroad was an absolute whirlwind of challenging classwork, meeting new friends, traveling to new places, and figuring out things independently. After the best 5 months of my life filled with adventure and extremely difficult moments alike, finding my “place” back home has had its trials. “Reverse culture shock” is an actual thing. America is quite different than Europe as a whole. People work more, everything is open later, there is little public transportation available… among other things. Even though classwork abroad was challenging, I appreciated it because I was always growing and learning and changing as a result of the challenges I was faced with.
At home, I am not quite as carefree and independent as I was abroad. I don’t have the luxury anymore of hopping on a plane and landing immersed in an entirely different culture for $50. The stress of working full-time is much different than the stress of balancing schoolwork and travel because its not all as enjoyable.
However, time at home can be just as exciting as life abroad, it’s just up to you to make it that way! Here are some things I’m focusing on to seek out the adventure in my own daily life:
1) Creating new adventures
At home, it is easier to get caught up in the monotony of life than when you are abroad and forced to adventure. I love going into Fort Worth or Dallas for dates with Harrison, going to the lake, trying new restaurants, or searching for cool Airbnbs in the area!
2) Starting a new project
Quite recently, I spontaneously bought a Fujifilm Polaroid-style camera and I am a bit obsessed. There is something about these cameras that capture moments in such a different, nostalgic, and real way. You only get one shot and it better be good! I’m trying to take one photo each day all summer. Memories captured can be special moments, people I meet, or “boring” things turned interesting by the camera capture. Check out how handsome my boyfriend is – this was my first Polaroid shot attempt! If you are interested in following along with my project, you can find me on Instagram at @Polaroidsdaily !
3) Remembering to make time for things I enjoy
Sometimes, after a long day or week of work, I am so tired that I become complacent. But, I actually feel better when I keep pushing myself and participating in the summer activities I enjoy. For me, these include yoga, reading, lake time, and sand volleyball! Activities that you love often have a cool ability of re-energizing you!
4) Getting involved in the international community here at home
One of the reasons I love my internship at Fort Worth Sister Cities is because it allows me to still connect with the international community right here in DFW! Volunteering is another great way to get involved.
5) Listening to people
Just the other day, I met a fellow co-worker at Lifetime Fitness who recently moved to America by herself from Honduras. Her story, filled with emotion and the sorrow of leaving her family behind in Honduras was extremely powerful. People are so interesting! Through listening to peoples’ stories whether in person or through books, we can interact, learn, grow, and challenge ourselves.
Whether you’re adjusting to life back home or just seeking renewal and rekindling, remember to make time for the things you love – adventure is out there!
“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what is is, go at it full speed, embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Ronald Dahl