I am a terrible human being. This poor blog has sat at the back of my mind, gathering a thick layer of dust over the past three months, as I have putzed about my life and attempted to re-carve the niche I thought I had left for myself in America.
But, hello. I'm back! Your not-so-local (but still your favorite) exchange student bringing you details about going home and why it might actually be harder than packing up your life and shipping it to the Middle East.
I have been home now for almost three months (and as I type that I can feel my head spinning because honestly that's an unbelievably long time) and I've started my senior year of high school. My classes are stressful, my friends are lovely, and my cats are fluffy. And I am still emotionally on exchange.
In the last few months since coming home, I have read blog posts from several of the girls who were in Oman with me (Kenzie's made me cry the hardest) and struggled to express my own emotions in a manner that would somehow refrain from mocking their pieces with redundancy. As you might have guessed by my absence from the interweb, I failed.
But at some point in the last week or so I decided that regardless of how poorly I might end up writing it (and so, dear readers, I'd like to apologize in advance), it is worth sharing my experience with you all even now that I am home so that any of you who are curious about exchange will get to be in on a big secret. Ready? Exchange doesn't end when you come home.
Exchange to me is how I would define this feeling of loss in your gut, that pull that makes you feel like you're meant to be somewhere else, and that somewhere is far away. It is the way that I have walked the streets of my hometown in the last months and felt, day by day, as though I were living out some bizarrely realistic version of the Sims. In the last few months, I have come to realize that exchange never truly ends. That the mark I let Oman leave on me will be here forever. That the sun may rise in the East and set in the West, but just because it's going down here doesn't mean it won't come back to greet me in another place halfway around the world.
I miss it. I spent 10 months wishing I were home and now I spend every night crossing my fingers and hoping that some day, Insha'allah, I will be able to return to Oman. It is beautiful there. My life was beautiful there. 5 times a day I would hear the call to prayer, the athan, and when I looked out of my window all I could see were more houses and streets cloaked in dust. The sun rose and set in hues that dazzled me twice a day, and as much as my host siblings and I may have disagreed, I miss them with all my heart.
It breaks my heart that my time abroad had to end. It gave me a purpose, instilled in me the will to push for the things I dreamed of, and promptly gave me a push and sent me off reeling into the abyss of college applications and AP work that waited to catch me when I landed home in New York.
I don't know if I can blog again after this. I don't even know if this piece is interesting or if it's just a piece of fluff I typed up because I was emotional and homesick. Either way, I'm going to post it, because this is how I feel, and if you were with me on my journey then you deserve to know that much.
So here goes. This is me accepting my exchange. Breathing in. Breathing out. Looking ahead to the new things to come. And taking a running jump and then a leap of faith out into the unknown, where I will find my next journey.
Shukran (thank you) to all of my readers and those of you who have just dropped in out of arbitrary curiosity. Thank you for reading this blog and validating my journey, and for letting me share it with you. Thank you for making me feel as though there was at least one other person out there whom I might have helped by going to Oman - by expressing that although these things are hard, they are so, so worth it.
A special thank you to the four girls who stole my heart and left me with a gaping hole in my chest that misses them every day - Linden, Ginya, Braden and Kenzie... You are my sisters and my best friends and my worst nightmares and I love you with all of my heart. You have meant the world to me, and I wouldn't have spent the last year with anyone else.
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.