Well, I'm home. I've been home about two weeks. And it's nice.
The journey home held no excitement for me, after 11 months away I simply couldn't imagine coming home and was actually pretty panicked by the prospect. Switzerland had become my life and especially in those last few weeks I was convinced I never wanted to leave. When the weather warmed up, Switzerland didn't seem to have any more sadness for me, well at least until it came time for goodbyes, but any of the homesickness that I'd felt throughout the year disappeared. It was just fun, bliss, in the form of long summer days and a two week trip around Europe with my exchange student friends.
My Swiss summer was heavenly. My last week of school was spent enjoying the time with my classmates and not worrying a thing about what the teacher was saying. On my last day of school and my last night before I went on my Europe tour my class threw me a surprise going away party and gave me the most beautiful gift. Each and every person had decorated a page in a photo album for me, even the boys I barely talked to! I nearly cried when they presented it to me, proud of their hard work. The cake with my name on it really almost pushed those tears out, but I managed to hold them in. One boy who had constantly pulled me aside throughout the night to give me drunken rants about how much fun I would have if I would just drink ended up sitting on a bench barfing his guts up. This is when the party started being not fun. The others attempted to care for him, trying to get him to drink some water and wanting to call his mom, but he wouldn't have any of it. He drunkenly begged us not to call his mom and refused to drink any water. What he did do though was puke, lots. After we had cleaned everything up and I had said goodbye to almost everyone I had to say goodbye to him too. He looked up at me in the dark and apologized for ruining things. I told him it was fine, but then I couldn't help myself. After all his preaching to me about the wonders of alcohol I had to ask him. "So," I said, "You still think drinking is so fun?" his response was a definite no, that came out much like a moan. I knew he was hurting now, but I figured that after a day of recuperation he wouldn't be ready to retire from his drinking days just yet. I said goodbye to him and the rest and eventually got home to get very little sleep before launching into my next adventure: A tour of Europe by bus.
The days of this trip were probably some of the funnest of my life. There are so many stories and photos that I've decided to share them over an extended time and not all at once. There is just too much to do in one post! All I can say though is that since I've been home there have been quite a few moments when I wish I could just go back to that. To traveling with my friends and spending every waking moment together, adventure after adventure, laugh after laugh.
Being home is wonderful, it's just so natural to be with my family, but it's not all easy. My life for the last year had no small kids in it, hardly any chores, and a lot of freedom. Here in Arizona I find myself fairly overwhelmed with the work I have to do when I haven't even started school yet! Home school is horrible, but I have one almost completed class to finish and then two more to go if I want to graduate this year, which I desperately do.
I only have what, two more weeks until school? And all I want to do is swim, tan, read, and make trips to the library. Unfortunately that's not possible. I have so much work in front of me when it comes to school. I have to get ready for college, I have to take my SATs, I have these other two home school classes to complete on top of a full class load. It's going to be a busy senior year, but I think it's going to be a fun one too. I actually am excited to start it.
Switzerland left it's impression on me, that's for sure. I will be forever bonded to that place and the people there who I love dearly. It tore up my heart to leave them, those sweet families who took me in, and the friends I knew I would desperately miss and I was right. I remember one particularly painful night when I had to say goodbye to one of my host families, as I made the trip to the house I was currently staying at I bawled the whole way. As I rode my bike down the mostly deserted roads my tears took my breath away and I gasped for air as the reality of the goodbye began to hit me. In the morning though it again felt surreal, my brain simply could not comprehend that I would not be seeing them again for who knows how long. That's the way it was up until the end, surreal. The permanence of each goodbye didn't register, even at the airport. Tears didn't come until I was on the other side of security and looking back at my two best friends who had faithfully walked to the absolute last point, then the tears came, but they were short lived, because then I was in travel in mode.
This isn't really all that reflective, maybe that will come later, tonight I'm just writing things as they come naturally. I've really been missing my other country this week and I'm hoping this will be some type of therapy. I'm planning on keeping up the blog throughout this next year, I mean why not. I may even be better about how often I update, but no promises.
Thank you, any of you who have left comments, or emailed, or prayed for me over this last year I needed it and I'm so grateful for the support I received! I love you all and I'm so glad there were people who wanted me to share my adventure with them.
I plan to have many more adventures in the future and funny things tend to happen to me so stay tuned for more!