A Letter From Abroad


Dear everyone,

The title says it all, this is just a little "hello", my stream-of-consciousness shared, because my mind has been racing these past few days. This is just me talking as myself. Myself if I was in Davis, myself if I was in Santa Barbara. Because although the pieces of life abroad you see on Instagram might give you an idea of what I've been doing, and a recap of my experiences sheds a trickle of light on what living abroad has been like, it does not capture everything. In short, I love it here. I could not imagine a better experience in whole for myself, or a better place to reside in outside of the United States. But what I want to address in this letter is that life is still life. I still have anxieties, I still attempt to plan out the future (which I am sure we will all learn, by some older age, never really works). Although the new places, new friends, and new experiences have been far more stimulating than I could have ever imagined, homesickness does exist. The other day I thought a lot about what I'm missing back in the states, how I am not able to see the friends I used to see every day, how I am essentially out of touch for the period I am living here, and how truly god awful this time difference is.

I am not able to talk to everyone back at home often because we really only have two times to keep in touch (my morning or your night), and its difficult to work it out. Sometimes I think of how weird it is that I have not been able to communicate with my family or friends for over a week, or even over a month. I understand that I won't be able to grasp the experiences everyone back at home partakes in, or the subtle changes that everyone grows through. But I want to reaffirm my belief that this is 100% okay, because as far as I'm concerned none of that matters in terms of what you all mean to me. I will always respect and try to understand whatever takes place elsewhere when I am not close by, and will always love my family and friends unconditionally. I believe that the people in your life who love you don't always have to be right by your side, and feel extraordinarily lucky to be able to have people in different places that mean so much to me.

Things feel odd because "real life" here in Sweden is starting to kick in. There are exams I should be studying for, obligations I should be focused on, and goals I should be pursuing. However, at times it is difficult for me to do any of this because it seems as though "real life" is a far removed concept when I am without my normal bearings. It seems at first that without the familiarity of the surroundings and people I have built my objectives around in previous years, "real life" cannot be constructed here. I have been wanting to chat with everyone from home more-so than before, because it somehow feels as though I need to remember myself by reacquainting with the things I am used to. But amidst this transition, I know that these concerns rest in my thoughts. In truth, there are many opportunities for me to do the things I want to do, to continue pursuing the things I find purposeful. It just takes a little time to adjust to actually living in Sweden, in addition to the part of living abroad where you travel around without obligations.

I chose to share all of this because I want my family and friends to understand that I am living in Sweden, not touring it. It is exciting, inspiring, and loads of fun. But it is also life in general. While I'm discovering parts of living here that make me feel like the luckiest person on the planet, there are also the minor downs, moments of insecurity, and thoughts or worries of self - in other words, it's still life. I am trying to establish a sense of identity and security here in Sweden, as I did in Davis and Santa Barbara. Although I may conjure words through a keyboard, it is impossible for me to relay everything I am experiencing. It is difficult for me to truly communicate the ways I am falling in love with living abroad and the ways in which I might be having some trouble, just as it is difficult for you to communicate everything to me. That is why it sometimes feels odd to talk to family or friends after large gaps of time. But the fact is we don't need to communicate everything. As long as we understand that there are reasons and experiences behind whatever parts of our lives we do see, we're golden.

I guess, what I'm trying to say, is this: Although we may be physically separate, we are not growing apart. I don't really believe that people change, I believe people simply grow. And because I know that I will never feel less connected to any of you, and that I will always love the people who are and were a part of my life from young to old, I like to think that we're growing together.

Love you lots,