Last post while I’m still sitting here in my bedroom, like it’s the most normal evening…
The past week has been so great – a visit to Katharina’s place, my friend from AFS that visited me at Easter here, near Kuopio. She’s one of my closest friends from this exchange year and it’s clear the end of this exchange doesn’t mark the end of our friendship. (She’s from Germany, so it’s not even far.) It was her Birthday on the 17th, so I was there to celebrate it with her. It was so wonderful, even though I could very much feel the vibes of “the end” already.
I went from her place directly to Jyväskylä, where I attended an event to celebrate midsummer (Juhannus). It was a festival from my host mother’s religion – Pentacostal church – and it was also in the same place as a festival I was also at, at the very beginning of this exchange year (Youth Convention). That gave it all a beautiful full-circle feeling, making me very happy. That the location is absolutely mindblowingly stunning helps, of course.
The music at the festival was, like last time, modern gospel: mostly hip-hop, rap; also a lot of soul. It was cool to see and listen to. The atmosphere at these things is always so great, everyone is so welcoming and happy. I did a lot of walking, reading, writing, listening to music, talking, etc. too, feeling very calm and extremely happy during my last weekend.
Then we came home… and I did my last bit of packing, barely fitting my stuff in the last bags I need to carry with me on the plane, after posting two heavy boxes to Belgium already. Some quality time with my host mom… A perfect lunch with Nita, Terhi, Pauliina and later joined by Sofia, to celebrate Nita’s Birthday (which is the 24th). It was nice and calm, chilling with them, because I’ll be seeing Pauliina and Terhi already in one month, so I already know for sure that the goodbye definitely isn’t final. They gave me a goodbye present, though, and I nearly broke. That was the point when I started feeling it.
And now everything feels heavy and final and I can’t even fully grasp it. I look at everything and realize I’m going to miss it, the people… this nature I’m surrounded with… every little thing is now triggering. At the moment I’m desperately trying to keep it together while listening to uplifting music to make it more bareable.
That in addition to all of this, the cat seems to understand what’s happening and followed me around in the morning and cuddled before I got up, makes it anything but easier or lighter.
These ten months were incredible.
There are things I wish I’d done (differently), but they fade from my memory as soon as I think of things that I did do (right), the people I met and the person I have become.
Not a single moment did I expect my year to be what it became. My mind is just blown.
The feelings I have on this last evening are overwhelming.
I’m going to miss this place so much, with the wide open spaces and the glorious people inhabiting them. People that treated me with such kindness, openness and respect that I will forever be so grateful for my luck in ending up in such company, giving me the opportunity to become the person I want to be and making sure I will never lower that standard of being treated by and treating others.
I’m happy to go back, because I’ve missed Belgium a lot. I can’t wait to see people again, visit my favorite places again, eat my favorite foods… I’m also excited for what’s to come for me.
I’m nervous for my travels, the changes it will bring and the emotions I’ll go through starting from pulling the door of this house behind me; to a train ride, airport wait and flight with my fellow exchange students that will surely all be filled with insanity; until I set foot in the country I took off from, ten months ago, and fall into the arms of the people I love that are awaiting me there. And then what happens after I go back home… I can’t imagine what it’ll be like for me, and even less for my family and friends who can only try to understand what I went through and are maybe also scared of what’s changed. (They don’t need to worry.)
That it’s actually over is so insane. It’s actually over. These things that are my norm now will soon be from a past life, almost. Even though I can come back, it’ll never be the same.
I’m just so happy, overall, that this is my life. My experience, my friends, my adventures. I could not be happier with how this year turned out for me… I can barely fathom it. It’s crazy. It’s insane. It’s unbelievable. I could yell it from the rooftops, that’s how happy I am. Gah. What is life even.
Love, love, love,
(Not sure what the future of this blog will bring, but I think maybe I’m hooked… expect something soon.)