Sunday, January 6, 2013

С новым годом!

Two weeks ago I returned with a giant backpack to a ghost town, my college campus seemingly abandoned, cold and empty. The first few days back in the States were rough. Before leaving Kyrgyzstan I was given a little debrief on 'reverse culture shock'. Upon my return I pretty much went completely through the checklist of emotions and exhaustion that was predicted and is common amongst international travelers. I was tired, excited, sad and overwhelmed, feeling unable to relate to or communicate with the friends and family I live with. I missed my friends abroad and almost the entire Prescott College community had left for the holidays. Indeed I came back to an empty, lonely place. And then I got sick. A terrible hacking cough that kept me up at night and doubled me over during the day. As happy as I was to be breathing fresh air, flushing toilet paper down the hole and eating bacon, I was terribly depressed and just wanted to return to the familiarity of Bishkek.

I have since got my possessions in order, overcome the jet lag and depression, and am on the upward swing to health. As I sat in the sun on campus yesterday I witnessed fresh looking young people walking slowly taking in the sights of the empty campus with their parents, clearly eager, excited and nervous. Today I saw so many people walking the town with large overstuffed backpacks. The Prescott College veterans, with their weathered backpacks, looking tidy and confident on their walk from the shuttle station through the barrio, while the incoming freshmen looked disoriented, wide-eyed with wonder, and not nearly as stream lined. The semester starts tomorrow and the fresh buzz just serves to remind me of all the new chances I get, all the opportunities I have in my life to start anew and to continue to expand my spirit.

At the beginning of 2012 I went to Ukraine, my first experience traveling solo. During the spring and summer I explored various aspects of relationships and my own shortcomings within those. I used my time in Kyrgyzstan to learn and grow in the realm of communication. My coming home was a fresh take on grounding myself and finding my bearings in my own culture. And while it still seems that winter has not really set in here, it feels like the beginning of a new season and with that a new and different chapter of my life. I am overjoyed with the anticipation for whatever will come next and can only smile at the memories of 2012 and at what a challenge some lessons are to learn.

Happy New Year Y'all.

1 comment:

  1. I sit at your feet in amazement to listen to the wisdom you're showing at such a young age. I can fully relate to your "reverse culture shock" and I know how few people can actually do so. Even many people who "travel" do not experience it. Sometimes that makes a very lonely journey through parts of our lives. Still, there is no better way I have found to enhance that journey more.
    I'm very proud of you, Sunny.