I was sitting on a bus, especially tired and working to keep my eyelids open. I had just finished my last English class. Tears sprung to my eyes along with a crazy joy in my heart. I was so excited, yet sad. So I pulled out my phone and started typing.
And this is what I wrote:
I’ve been so overwhelmed all day. It’s finally starting to kick in that this chapter is closing, my goodbyes are almost over and I’m hopping on a plane on Saturday.
I’ve talked about how hard this has been. I’ve also shared how incredible my adventures were. This experience has changed me completely.
I’ve gotten used to the push to speak up to strangers when the only thing we have in common is our language.
I’ve grown used to the feeling of fear and uncomfortableness when a Czech person speaks to me and I have to cringe and ask “do you speak English” to only have them kindly switch or motion frantically.
I’m used to cobblestone streets and pastel houses.
And I’m used to sticking my arm in metros or standing on the right side of an escalator that is 3 stories high.
In becoming used to my life here, I have learned so many valuable lessons.
I’ve learned to stop caring so much about money and focus on living.
I’ve learned that the most important quality I own is my bravery.
I’ve learned that I still know how to be my own best friend when I spend days and days hanging out with just myself.
I’ve learned that dreams are ideas we make happen and sometimes they lead you down a path you never expected.
I’ve learned how much more you can love a city when you meet the people who live there and spend time in their homes.
I’ve learned how much I value what I have at home.
I’ve learned how much I adore every single one of my lessons and students. So much so that I finished my last night in tears.
Not because I’m not ready to leave, I’ve made myself ready to go.
Those tears came because I realized Prague taught me how to choose my happiness when I thought I knew what was best for me.
I kept having this idea in my head of a self-created happiness but my heart was vigorously shaking it’s head NO.
That argument taught me to accept decisions as they’re thrown at me and bask in the time I have left.
I am so tired. Mentally, physically and emotionally. Because of how much love and growth I have demanded of myself to spread every day that I can.
And some days, I couldn’t. I just had to breathe.
But the scariest part of coming home isn’t the change of scenery.
It’s coming home to a world where 3 months went by that were more or less the same of what happened when I was there.
It’s coming back to a place that is almost exactly the same when I’m so completely and utterly different.
It’s feeling this shift.
It’s talking to your friends and knowing that no one in the world will know what it was like to be you out there.
Some don’t want to know because they don’t want to hear about adventures they haven’t had the chance to live.
Some don’t ask because they think you might come back with arrogance.
In some ways, they’re right.
Not a soul can really understand what happened in the three months that felt like a year. And I’m not bragging, I’m sharing my story if only to inspire you to challenge yourself. I can type on this keyboard until my fingers cramp or fall off but it won’t do the experience justice unless you just GO.
It’s scary to come back to a place that love and nurtured you and expects the same you to return.
I’m not the same.
I wasn’t the same girl after my first day abroad. And now?
Well, this me is a little bit tougher, a lot more independent and much much stronger.
And it’s really hard for me to explain 100 days of living into a 5 minute “How was Europe?” question.
So I always come back to telling about my decision to bite the fear and go.
Because this changed version of myself? She’s a product of the other version’s bravery.
And I am so so so freaking proud of her.
She came to Europe, lived there, pushed through every rough situation and made it work for her. She pursued a dream and LIVED it. She is so freaking brave. I am so freaking brave. All I want to do is shout to the rooftops that that girl had no idea what the heck she was doing. One day she just bought a ticket and flew to Europe to teach. She knew that this experience had to happen but without a clue why. Maybe so I could sit on this bus and write this post to tell you, the one hesitating to GO for whatever it is you want in your life, to just DO it.
I am no less or more than anyone reading this.
I’m not extraordinary.
I’m not fearless.
You can do it if you want to and all I want is for you to see why it’s so important you do.
When you have the bravery to stop making excuses and by the plane ticket, pay for the yoga classes, buy the expensive paintbrushes, what EVER it is… you will be amazed by the way your dream opens up for you. Even if you find that it wasn’t what you wanted, you will learn so much along the way.
Life is about shifting and living and most importantly- enjoying.
That is the most valuable thing I learned out here.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make, your job title, the square footage of your home or the body you have. It’s about who, at the end of the day, you are. It’s about how many people you impact in your life, how much you give and how often you push yourself to LIVE.
As long as I come home, make enough to enjoy my life and spend my time with the people I love and adore, I will be happy. THAT is all I need.
I’ve realized the spark to my happiness and that is why I had to come out here. If only I could distance myself from the other voices that were joining mine.
THAT is the purpose of this European adventure.
So cheers to the next journey.
It may not seem as glamorous or romantic, but it’s as real as ever.
So, please, flip the page with me.
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