Deep In The Heart
After roughly 4 months, 4 different countries and a chance to experience more cultures in a semester than I have in a whole lifetime, i'm back in my home state of texas. there are so many things that i considered, and so many feelings that flitted through my mind when i left and when i came back to texas. it's hard to put it into words...but i tried to anyway. so this is for anyone who goes out to explore, but can always find there way back home.
I've always considered myself to be someone who is incredibly open to new experiences. I think I was always willing to try new things that would put me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. This attitude is what led me to being a double major in college, entering an honors program where I had no idea what I was doing, joining Baylor Dance Company, and seeking friendships. This mentality was also what led me to decide to study abroad. Now I was no stranger to traveling, but I was about to be living in a completely unfamiliar environment. So I would have to say that I got homesick before I was even away from home. Those last couple of weeks in Texas, before I left for Paris were filled with so many differing emotions. Excitement for Paris. Stress over traveling to a foreign country by myself, and also not knowing the language and culture. Fear of going on this adventure and hating every minute of it (I laugh at the fact that I could have ever though of this). And also a deep sadness that I would be going away from the only place that I have truly called home. I have had friends who have moved state to state, country to country, but I have never had that experience. The only place I have ever lived was Texas, and the idea of leaving a place that was so familiar to me, so incredibly paramount in creating the person who I am today, was terrifying.
You can ask my mom, and she will tell you that I was a wreck of emotions at one point. I just had a lot of feelings about the whole situation. I was afraid that I would be leaving and everyone would move on and realize that I wasn't really needed in their life anymore. My mom quickly pointed out my ridiculousness and said that I am loved, and that me going away won't change that. That home in Texas, the friendships I cultivated here, the lessons I've learned here, will not be forgotten. So with this in mind I left.
Preparing to return to the known
Paris had opened my eyes to the life that I could have. It was quickly becoming a different type of home for me and living there sometimes felt as easy as breathing. Of course I missed my home, but it was strange because although I will always consider Texas my home, Paris was also becoming a some sort of home for me as well. I was creating relationships that I would soon have to physically leave, and getting to know a city that has given me so many opportunities to explore and grow. My decision to come home had me torn. I had the option to stay in Paris for another semester, but in the interest of it being my first time living in another country, and the fact that I hadn't seen my family in four months, I decided against it. But I was quickly moving on to the idea of going abroad to London next fall. My thoughts were that, I had to keep going to different places in order to grow. That I had to keep traveling, and maybe abandon the notion of a permanent place for a while. But London wasn't calling me the way Paris had, and so after talking it out with my mom, I decided that I would allow myself Christmas break to really be home and then make a final decision.
I will be completely honest...I didn't want to come home. Although I was homesick during finals (like intensely so), and I did miss my friends. I didn't want to come home. I felt like that if I were to come home, I would be limited to what I could do. Paris gave me so much freedom to discover who I was, what I wanted to do, and who God wanted me to be, that I was terrified that I would go home and all of that work God did on me would just go away.
But this morning (when I couldn't go back to sleep because I was hella jet-lagged), I threw on some warm clothing, grabbed my camera, and Bella (my crazy dog) and trekked through my huge back yard. I was blessed to see a beautiful Texas sunrise, and just be at peace for a moment. When I was fretting over the fact that I wouldn't have Paris at my disposal anymore, my mom told me something that didn't hit home with me until I was outside in the freezing cold this morning. You have to go out and look for things. She pointed out that even though I was in Paris, I didn't just sit around and wait for things to happen, I was active in looking for new and amazing things, and that this is what I have to do back home also, or just in any place I go.
She was right (of course, when is Kim not?). I came back to Texas afraid that I wouldn't be able to grow in character and experiences in a place that I felt like I "knew," but it's the exact opposite. I don't know my home, not like I used to anyway. Now, it's like an old friend who you are getting to know again. It's familiar and brand new at the same time, and I now know the immense privilege I have to get to know it again.
I know that I will no doubt continue to go into the world and explore more, but I also learned that there is no benefit in being comfortable. Being comfortable = being stagnant. So I will take the time to get out of being comfortable and continue to be bold with how I live my life. No matter if I'm home in Texas, living in Paris, or wherever God may lead me to next. I now know that in order for a place to truly become home, you must truly get to know it and get out of your own way to do that.