two weeks.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Some music for you while I let out some inner thoughts onto the world wide web.





I chose this song because (1) it's been two weeks since I've been able to blog about some recent events, (2) this song has is rather catchy, and (3) why not watch a video where people's heads spark and then burst into flames? Always relevant, always.

Anyway, it's been two weeks since I've been active on the blog. Life has been busy. Things have picked up a lot in the last two weeks, from the first round of exams to section events to increasing loads of homework/the beginnings of major projects, and somehow I've found myself almost halfway through the semester. WEIRD. I know.

Four Day is next weekend. Ridiculous. The last six weeks have flown by, so incredibly fast. I am so stoked for a long weekend, a chance to go HOME which I haven't really gotten to enjoy since May, and a well deserved break from Westmont. This is my first time going home over four day, and I am finding myself looking forward to it a lot more than I thought I would. It is drawing me in with promises of lazy afternoons on the couch with my cat, home cooked meals from my wonderful mother, football games on ESPN with my dad, and the chance to really be alone for a little bit - catch up on internal processing and enjoy some solo time.

Today has been a restless day.

I went out exploring this morning with a resident, where we found ourselves spending a few hours at the local Zoo before doing a bit of grocery shopping at Vons and making our way back to campus for a corndog and pesto lunch. I had planned on doing homework for the majority of the afternoon, nailing out some heavy reading and a paper so I could take Sunday off, but unfortunately, that didn't happen.

My mind was all over the place, and I just could not focus for the life of me. I managed to get some stuff done, and then gave up knowing that any reading I was going to do would be worthless because I wasn't concentrating on it. This is weirdly unusual for me. On a typical Saturday I can sit down, shovel out a good 6 hours of homework and be done for the weekend. That's the way it's always been. That's how I function. But for some reason...that didn't work today.

So I am heading into tomorrow with a paper to write, 40 pages of reading to do, and some review for an upcoming fencing exam. I'm not upset, I'm just curious as to why I suddenly lost the motivation to work this afternoon. But then again, maybe breaking habits isn't a bad thing. I need to get out of this routine that's getting so comfortable. This is probably a good thing, even though I'm slightly annoyed right now, knowing I won't have a free and relaxing afternoon tomorrow. Eh, life goes on.

I also realized today that I am finally moved into my room.
Yes, it took 5 weeks.

You see, I'm totally unpacked and settled in after a couple days back in the dorms, but I'm not "moved in." I don't reach that point until about this time in the semester, when all of sudden I find myself saying I'm going "home" and not back to "my room." It comes at point where I can open my drawers at my desk and know exactly what is in there and where I can find something. It's when my fridge is finally stoked and broken into with various types of yogurt, salsa, string cheese and apple juice. where suddenly my photographs begin to curl after being taped onto a wall, and my shoes no longer sit in neat piles on my self. I have broken in my room. I have moved in.

I'm not sure I personally have moved back into the life of Westmont yet.
I don't think I'm going to reach that point all year.

There is a still a subtle tug on my soul for the fresh air that hits you on a ferry, going across the Bosphorus back "home" to a white-walled dorm room after a 2 hour bus ride up through the windy passages of the city. My heart yearns for the days when I was another face in the crowd, a foreigner on the metro, a tourist at a stunning museum. I have felt a physical emotion - something that makes me want to crunch myself up into a little ball when I am falling asleep, and imagine myself back in that unfamiliar and curious world - where everyday was something new and everything was worth the full experience. I see photographs and I hold them while I look into the faces - remember that moment, that emotion, that pride, joy and happiness.

I had lunch with Heather, one of the professors who was on our semester abroad, and spent an hour talking about life in general over criss-cut french fries. It was the first time since being back at Westmont I've really been able to talk about how much I miss those 4 months I spent as a foreigner in another country, another world. God, I miss it so much. I can't put my finger on what I miss exactly, but that whole experience was something that I yearn for so much now. I see photos of students on Europe semester, getting a taste of what I did last semester, and I wonder in my head, Do they realize how much they will miss it? Do they know that they need to take advantage of every opportunity, every day, every moment, every little thing? Are they aware of this feeling they'll experience when they come back home? Do they know how badly I wish I was in their shoes, walking over wet pavement on a rainy afternoon in Istanbul?

I don't mean to say all of this implying that I don't want to be here at Westmont. I have been blessed with the most amazing section of women at Westmont, something I still have no idea how it happened, but I love and treasure every day I get to spend with them. They have shown me so much love in the past five weeks - some of them who have only known me for those five weeks. It's ridiculous. It really is one of those service opportunities where you sign up to bless others only to be blessed so tremendously in return. It is helping so much in my transition back to Westmont, helping me finally move in completely.

But I'm not there yet.
I'm not expecting to get there anytime soon.

This is a process. That's why they call it "processing." I don't know how long it will take to close the cover on my semester abroad, be able to pick up a photograph and look at it with a smile and joy of what happened rather than an emotional tug to go back and relive that moment (and maybe the entire semester as well). I don't know how long it will take to think about those months and not immediately say to myself "Did I really do that? Remember when I traveled the world for four months? Saw the pyramids? The Temple Mount? The Hagia Sophia? The Mediterranean Sea?" and be able to trade out disbelief for thankfulness and joy. It's going to take a while, and accepting that is the first step to beginning that long and sometimes painful process.

I have taken the first step, and there really isn't any turning back now. I will make my way through this fog and hopefully find myself out on the other end, thankful, joyful, and able to place the thick, bound, and well-worn book called Westmont in Istanbul: 2012 on the shelf, where I can take it out in years to come, flip through memories, photos, experiences, and not long to be back, but be thankful for where I am now.

Here's to next week, and the light at the end of tunnel on it's way.
Four day, I'm coming for you.

Respectfully submitted,
Leah

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