Coming Home? Or Leaving Home?
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Coming Home? Or Leaving Home?

A commentary on what home is like after studying abroad.

Coming Home? Or Leaving Home?

Coming to Germany has been an incredible experience for me. I am almost finished with my time over here. Am I happy? Am I sad? Three months ago, I would have said “I don’t know”. Eight months ago, I would have been happy to return to the United States. Now, I absolutely don’t want to leave Germany and don’t want to return to America.

When I first got here, everything was super exciting. I was in a new land. Everything was different. Everything was interesting. It was like at the beginning of a relationship, where everything just seems perfect, and you are blind to the flaws. I couldn’t yet tell what was going to be hard, and what wasn’t quite “right”.

Next, and fairly quickly, came a new, fairly long-lasting phase. All I wanted was to go home. Everything was super difficult, confusing, and I had no friends. I missed people back home, and just wanted something familiar. You might say that I was bordering on miserable. Let’s just say that I wasn’t having a good time.

But, thankfully, these feelings gradually began to go away. I started to meet a few people, and not spend every single evening alone in my room. A niche started to form. A perfect, Annie-sized niche. I started getting better at German and I started to be able to understand my classes. I started to live in Würzburg instead of simply existing.

In Germany, I have the chance to live instead of just existing day-to-day. Now that I am living, I feel happier and more alive (who would have guessed?). Würzburg has become home-because home is where you live, not where you simply exist.

So, my question: When I fly back to Denver in August, am I coming home or leaving home? Both?

For me, it feels like I am leaving home. I’ve built myself a life here in Germany that I have grown accustomed to and like. Like most humans, I don’t always like change. This is a situation where I don’t want things to change.

To those whom I have been away from, I am coming home. But, even then, it’s no longer the home that I knew, but the home that they know. I won’t fit in the puzzle the same way I did before I left. I’m a different piece now.

When I go back to the United States, I will spend a brief amount of time in Denver, and then I have to return to Albuquerque. Perhaps returning would be easier if I felt like I had something I was going back to. A “home”, perhaps. But, as it is, I feel like there is little to nothing in Albuquerque to make me desire to return. All my close friends won’t be there-I’ll only have acquaintances, and very few of them. It’s going to be like starting over, yet again. As I felt after a few weeks in Germany-that I have no friends, that I want to go “home”, etc.-is going to happen all over again, just in Albuquerque. A second time. Just like freshman year… I don’t know how I feel about that. Certainly not excited or happy. I’m going to miss Würzburg.

How can I make this change more palatable?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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