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I have 12 days left in this country.

I’m sure you’ll understand that I don’t want to spend them blogging. I still have a lot of posts that I want to write that I’ve been putting off all semester, and I certainly plan to gift you with those when I get home.

But for now, I’m working at my internship, spending as much time as possible with friends, eating Tim Tams, finishing up a few papers, and trying to avoid being overly conscious of every plane flying overhead. So I’m going to put the blog on hiatus for a few weeks.

But before I go, I just want to share something that’s been on my mind.

I wasn’t nervous about coming here at all. I slept fine the night before I left and had no trouble boarding that plane in St. Louis. When I got to Sydney, I felt confident. Excited, yes, but also calm.

Now, as I face the return journey, I’m petrified at the thought of going back home.

At first glance, this makes no sense. But upon further reflection, I think I’ve figured out why.

When I came here, I had no expectations. I knew everything would new and different. I was expecting an adventure, simple as that. I didn’t know what my room would look like or who my friends would be or what the next four months would hold, and that mystery was all part of the fun.

On the other hand, I know exactly what to expect going back home. I know the stretch of I-270 between the airport and my house. I know the voice of Mike Shannon on the radio and the taste of a Sacred Grounds mocha. I know what St. Boniface looks like on Sunday morning and the sounds of my family’s big and glorious get-togethers. I’m going back to the place I grew up in. The place that’s familiar, always the same.

Except here’s the problem: It won’t be the same.

My family and friends have grown up and experienced their own adventures. Edwardsville probably has some hideous new mural on Main Street, and there might be a new tree in my backyard. Sparky’s will have come up with some ridiculous new ice cream flavour. The place itself has changed.

But more importantly, I’ve changed.

I’m not going to pretend I’m some sophisticated world traveller because I lived in another country for a few months. I’m not. But this experience, this living 9,000 miles from home for a semester, meeting new people, seeing new things, and experiencing completely new perspectives, has changed me in some way. In what way? I don’t have a clue. But I know it has, and the uncertainty scares me.

Of course I’m excited to go home. Intellectually, I know that home is home, no matter what.

But I can’t help but feel nervous about what I’ll find when I get there. Sure, it’ll probably be positive. In a few months I’ll be talking about what a great, wonderful life-changing experience study abroad was.

But for now, I just know that when I arrive back home, it won’t be the same home I left. And I know that even though my study abroad experience will technically be over, I’ll still have a lot of growing to do as a result of it.

Does that make sense?

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