When I leave the United States tomorrow, I will have hardly enough money to pay for my excess luggage. But as corny and cliché as it sounds, I will be richer in many, more important ways.
I’ve never had many truly, great friends. Friends that I trust like family. People I know who would support any decision I made. It’s possible that this is in part due to not knowing myself until recently. I used to go through life projecting what I thought others wanted to see, and a friendship could never be honest and long lasting based on those projections. Since I have left school I have grown every single day. However, moving half way across the globe was like planting myself in fertiliser.
I suppose, knowing that if the people I met on exchange, didn’t like the ‘real’ me, who I was still trying to find, then we’d all go back to our ‘regular’ lives soon enough. It was a safety net. One that I realise now, I didn’t need. I am still the same person I was in high school. Driven by the anxiety of failure, generous beyond my means, eager to please, easily annoyed, outspoken and opinionated. I have learnt how to reign in some of these facets of my personality, although they are very much what has brought me close to those I’ve met in the last six months.
Thankfully on exchange I met people who understand that the advise and council I give to those when times are hard, is also the same emotionally driven politics and morals I debate when I’m annoyed. They understand that the stressed out, procrastinating, complaining comes hand in hand with generosity fueled spending and organising, that extends to anyone I consider a worthwhile friend. I have always done these things, at the same frequency, with the same intensity, with mostly the same intentions, but now I have more people who understand. Their understanding has led to my growth.
I have doubled the amount of friends I have back at home. And have just as many friends around the globe too. And it is because of them that I know, love, understand, appreciate, believe in, have faith in and trust myself.