The last 10 months of my life have been unlike anything I could have expected. They have been hot and dusty and exciting and spontaneous and hectic and stressful and beautiful. They have been an exchange.
But now it is June, and I am going home.
I am going home on Saturday night, connecting through Germany and into Washington, D.C. for re-entry orientation. I am going home to the life I left behind, the house I have lived in for years, the parents who raised me and the friends who have supported me into and through this year of my life.
I am going home to my cats.
I am going home to grass, and to rain, and to winter snows and changing seasons.
I am going home to mild summers and the birds that chirp in our garden.
And I am leaving Oman.
I am leaving behind the sands and the hot sun, the camels and the dunes.
I am leaving behind the friends I have made and the family who took me in.
I am leaving behind the mountains and the clear blue skies, the wadis and the desert breeze.
I am leaving behind the smell of bukhur and the lights of Muscat.
I am leaving behind the person I am in this moment, because I will never be the same again.
I am scared, but I know I am ready. I know I will be okay as I take another step forward into the uncertainty that follows this exchange, because in the last 10 months I have come to know myself.
At this point, at t-minus two days until departure, my bags are packed and sitting by the door to my room. My plane outfit is picked out. I have dotted my "i"s and crossed my "t"s, and all that remains is the physical act of getting on that plane to finalize an ending to this year.
One week ago the other exchange students and I gave our capstone presentations at the U.S. Embassy here in Muscat. I stood in front of the other girls, members of our host families, and officials from the embassy and talked about the recent history of Oman. I was able to do this because in the last 10 months I have learned enough about this country to be genuinely curious. I was interested in this history because the past is what inspires the present and drives the future, and I care about the future of this country.
And looking back on it now, that is only one of many things I have done this year that I could not have imagined even 18 months ago. 18 months ago I was just applying for the YES Abroad program, sending in my application and praying it would be accepted. And here I am today, more than 7000 miles from America but still, somehow, at home.
The last song I'll share before I leave is one that I've been listening to a lot lately - to me, this song is a perfect echo of my emotions at this moment.
🎶I Was Here - Beyoncé🎶
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.