After a week of being back in the states following two months in South America, it felt unreal. Unreal in more sense than one. It felt unreal to drive behind a steering wheel. It felt unreal to hold my iPhone in my hand. And it even felt unreal to walk through my apartment complex door. Everything that I once knew, became strange and different almost as though I was living in some sort of dream. However, this “dream” illusion was ultimately due to a change in perspective. Because if given thought, my apartment complex door didn’t change, neither did the steering wheel nor my iPhone. These things “changed” because the way I viewed everything around me changed. I learned that with time and a new environment, things won’t be the same, at least won’t be perceived the same. I’m sure anyone who has traveled understands this concept (probably on a deeper level) or even out-of-state students. However, this was my first time leaving the nest. Claremont has always been an hour away from home, and weekends were usually spent back in Torrance or with my family in Claremont. I was never in a situation as this in which I lived with a completely new family, strangers you can even say. A country in which my first language was hardly spoken. And on streets in which the way I talked, the way I walked, and the way I spoke all stood out as…different, strange even. Now coming back home, these very things I knew dearly were different. The fridge was stocked with fruits, vegetables, and eggs, rather than dulce de leche and leftover pasta. The motorists were respectful and calm rather than boisterous and infuriated. And hip hop and top 40 were being bumped from stereos rather than cumbia and cuarteto. I realized, however, that these differences I constantly noted were all due to the cultural immersion I experienced in the past two months. Which is exactly what I had gone out searching for.
Before leaving I was longing for a change.
From all of this, I got to find myself. What I love, what I want to see and know and ultimately what I want to do.