Saturday, April 20, 2013

Let go and let live

Six months ago I left the confusing, vibrant, and wonderful country of Turkey.  I've had six months to think.  Six months to regret.  Six months to miss the idea of what I had missed out on.  I've had six months to meet my idols, think about life, and spend a bit too much money on concert tickets.

As many of you already know, I left Gaziantep early for reasons that I kept rather vague.  Health issues, physically and mentally.  Severe homesickness that spiraled into depression.  Something I already battled before I left.  All things that I know I could have dealt with, but perhaps wasn't emotionally ready for.  Exchange isn't easy.  It's a kick to the stomach, the senses, your sense of reality.  Everything is new.  Very few things are familiar.  For someone like myself who is incredibly attached to my family, being away for so long was heart wrenchingly painful.  But it's possible.  For someone with a sensitive stomach and digestive system, it was agonizing.  I found out only 2 months ago that I have gluten, soy, dairy, and egg allergies, which is the reason I was having so many issues while in the country.  The basis of Turkish food is bread and yogurt.

I thought I was making the best possible choice for myself when I came home.  But I never fully thought about the repercussions of leaving something so incredible behind.  I miss my host family.  The food, however much it hurt me.  The fellow YESers that I became so close with.  Going to the store with Linnie (another YES girl), buying 30 lira (around $15) worth of junk food, and recording our reactions while eating it.  Running around the backyard on sundays with my host cousins and sisters, playing a weird form of dodgeball.  But coming home, I was able to meet 2 of my idols, I'm able to walk at graduation and dive headfirst into music, a huge passion of mine.

So here's the question:  do I regret coming home?  Yes.  I wish I was still there.  It's painful seeing all the other YES Abroad students having incredible years and I'm now sitting at home on tumblr because I gave up one of the best opportunities ever given to me.  However, I know it would have been detrimental to my health.  Both mentally and physically.  Could I have done it?  Yes.  But I didn't, and that chapter of my life is over.  So in all reality, I don't regret it.  There are moments where homesickness for Turkey and exchange and everything I had there is so great it's crushing, but most of the time, I try to revel in what I have now.  And that's all anyone can do.

So, to all the lovely 2013-2014 YES recipients, absorb everything.  Take everything in.  Take advantage in every opportunity.  Just know that this year will be the most challenging and rewarding year of your life.  I can't say that enough.  And if you ever have doubts, just realize that it's one year of your life.  A once in a lifetime opportunity, and no matter how hard it is, you are learning so incredibly much from it.  If you have difficulties, take it day by day.  Keep a journal.  Take thousands of pictures.  And most importantly, enjoy yourself.

I don't know what I'm going to do with my life, but I dearly hope that I can live my passion through music and travel.  I'll figure something out eventually.  But I'll be sure to keep this blog updated.  Apparently people like what I write, seeing as I have almost 10,000 views.  It's baffling.  Most of the time I just sound like a bumbling idiot.  But thank you, so very much.  For reading everything every step of the way.


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