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Young wanderlust Wanderlust is a strong desire to travel the world... 17 years old, with the world in front of my feet!

Returning home

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 30 April 2014 | Views [402]

The moment she walked into her old room, a wave of emotions crashed heavily into the depths of her heart. She embraced the white walls; let her fingers linger around the framed old memories. Memories and dreams that had just been put away for a year, replaced with new memories and dreams. Now it was time to unpack these memories and dreams again, and leave the other world behind.  Dark clouds filled her mind; she could not let the thoughts about meeting her old friends stop haunting her.  Would they be different? Or would they be exactly the same? She realized that the things that were the most important a year ago would not be so important anymore, but what she valued the most now, no one at home would ever understand. A sparkling tear dropped down on Idunn’s cheek, like a reflection of everything she had seen and done a year on exchange. A reflection of how everything had changed and what person she had become.  Like it all was collected in one perfect, beautiful little tear drop.

„Det er godt å ha deg hjemme igjen, kjære.“
„It is good to be home too, mum, “ Idunn replied, but in the internal conflict in her head the two worlds she lived in had brutally collided. She looked up at her beloved mum’s face, trying to force upon a smile to match her mums cheerful look. Idunn’s eyes looked like they were not connected to her smiling mouth, filled with water like it was the great blue ocean that separated these two countries. The deep blue ocean she crossed to get home. If there is such a thing called home anymore. Being separated from her mother’s safe arms, she had matured in ways that no one except her would understand.  There had been times when she felt so helpless to be hours away from home, when she knew the ones she held closest to her heart needed her. There had also been times she felt helpless being so far away, when she was the one needing help.  They had been twelve months away from each other, and the relief of seeing her mother almost felt unbearable. On the other hand, leaving the woman that had been her mother for a year felt almost unbearable too. Idunn picked up the white box filled with photos taken from this other world, and began hanging them up to her wall – a desperate act to hold the memories close and never forget.

The first day of school. A nerve-racking day; a vulnerable day; a day she would meet the people that would turn into her best friends. Idunn looked at the picture of a smiling girl, proudly showing off her uniform.  She had left her best friends, yet to return to her best friends. The picture she was holding in her right hand was of her with the family she stayed with, the people who were once just names on a sheet of paper. People, who had become her family, people who had opened their hearts and their homes to shelter her. She walked out the arrival gate; nervously scanning the room for the faces she had just seen pictures of. Feeling scared, more little and lonely than ever, and yet so excited, she spotted the familiar faces in the crowd. This was the moment she would meet them, and everything would begin.

She stepped back and admired the wall, but with a pain in her heart. A year had passed and she was standing on the brink of a world where she was surrounded by the paradox of everything and yet nothing was the same.  Smiling faces were looking at her, those lazy crazy days of summer, the everlasting beach with sand soft as silk, pictures from important events, days she and her friends had discussed every day before and after, and dreams and adventures she had experienced.  All the amazing people she had met, people that she probably will never see again. Idunn’s legs could not keep her standing anymore, and tears were welling up in her eyes blurring her vision. The memories on her wall seemed even more faded than they already were. No more staying up all night talking to her friends which brought her to laughter and tears in a second language, no more spontaneous things she would never think of at home, and no more walking into the particular town which was her home, just to take a walk. No more a different country. She had now gone back to the same place she came from, and she would go back to the same things she did last summer and the summer before, but with no idea how to proceed. Idunn got up on her trembling legs, doing the one thing she thought of, that could calm the rough sea between her two worlds.

“Kommer du? We will be late! ”
 (Are you coming?) asked Helene, who was standing in Idunn’s doorway waiting for her. Helene was happier than ever, finally Helene’s best friend had returned home. A year apart had been hard, and doing every-day things without Idunn by her side had been difficult. Giving her the last hug and fighting the tears when Idunn left, and Helene had waited at the arrival, giving her the biggest hug and fighting the tears again, welcoming the girl that knew all her secrets, home.  Helene flicked her blonde hair back, watching her old best friend putting lots of pictures away in boxes.

 “What are you doing? Don’t you want those up on your wall?” Idunn got up on her feet, and walked across the room into Helenes arms. “I will put those away for now,” she said, embracing the warmth of her best friend, who she had been talking to all night some nights through the year, who had brought her to laughter and tears. Idunn had taken down the pictures and dreams, and put them away, saving them for the return to that world. The world where she learned to grow up and to become her own person. She knew that somehow, some way, she would find her place between these two worlds. Now it was time for unpacking her old dreams and memories, that had just been put on hold for a year. She looked up at Helene and smiled, “I’m ready to go.” 

Tags: emotions, exchange, returning home

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