Monday, 9 February 2015

I Found The Answers

Before I left on my exchange previous exchange students, and people who where involved in the program kept telling me how much this single year would change me. They mentioned how I would discover myself, become more independent and most of all how much I would mature. I remember my Grandpa saying to me “every one year of exchange, is like maturing five years in one”. So by his count, I guess I am almost twenty-two years old (if you are reading this Kendra, we are basically the same age now). I was forewarned that when I returned my family may struggle to understand me, and I would most likely return to the loosing a majority of my friends. I understood I would change, but I didn't understand that my reasoning for going on exchange would change with that. Pre exchange I was not actually fully aware of why I had this strange desire to leave my entire life behind and start new. I didn't know myself as well as I really thought I did. 
Before Exchange

During Exchange
When I applied for exchange people kept asking me why I wanted it. I gave the basic exchange student answer “I want to learn a new culture, I love traveling, I want to learn a new language, and I want to create global connections.” I did not actually know the truth as to of why I was so willing to give up everything I ever knew, in order to start all over again. I didn't actually know until a few days ago I was sitting in one of my favourite cafes. Just a few tables away from me sat a girl. Her headphones were in, and the rest of the world was turned off. Her laptop was open in front of her, and to her right a notebook filled with notes. You could tell by the way she occasionally let out a sigh, and by the way she rested her head on her hands and rubbed her eyes, that what ever she was working on was causing her stress. For some strange reason seeing her this stressed out girl, made me feel... homesick? Who would have guessed that I would feel home sick for stress.

For those of you who know me, you know that I love to ware myself thin, and that I struggle to say no to things. You know that I live this hectic life attempting to split myself between school, leadership, theatre, dance, family, a boyfriend, all well attempting to maintain a social life. You people who know this are probably thinking ‘Jenna, are you insane? You were a walking disaster because of this. How on earth could you miss stress’. I am not insane, but other then that you are right. I was a stressed mess. I procrastinated, I cried, I complained, I got angry and I even shut down at times. But the truth is I was actually really grateful to have all of these things in my life. I was not homesick for stress, but I was homesick for being busy. I was home sick for being kept on my toes, I was homesick for busy weeknights, and packed full weekends. I was home sick for having a project to focus on, I was homesick for having a routine to perfect and I was home sick for working hard. Today I even got home sick when I saw a picture of dancers from my studio reading ‘early morning practices’, WHAT!! Me homesick of early morning practices. But honestly, it doesn’t matter how much I complained, because deep down inside I was actually happy to be doing this stuff. I guess being away from it all really made me realize my hunger for learning, keeping busy, and pushing myself to my limits. 
A Boyfriend
My attempted social life


So there you have it. I have officially found the reason that I was crazy enough to leave my life, friends, and family behind. I also found the reason why I got myself involved in so many things. I enjoy pushing myself as hard as I can because I know as long as I am trying my hardest in the end I will be happy with my results. I like to keep busy. I like to learn, and I love having a project to work on. For all those people who questioned my choices to jam pack my schedule, you now have an answer and to answer those who asked me why I wanted to go on exchange, the answer is simple. I enjoy pushing myself into uncomfortable situations, I like to work hard and I like to push my own limits.

Me planting rice in Thailand
Please excuse some of these randomly inserted pictures. I thought they might make this look less daunting to read...

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