I apologize for my recent lack of writing. As I am sure those of you who have embarked on exchange before know, returning home is challenging, and can be even more difficult than leaving for exchange. That is definitely how I felt. A lot of personal circumstances in my life were placing emotional tension on me, and I knew it would become even more tense once I actually returned to Canada. And the first few weeks definitely were tense. When I landed in Canada, Tyson and I spent a few nights together, so we could catch up and be together again before I had to see everybody else. It was amazing to spend some much needed quality time with him, and it really helped me get my feet on the ground and prepare for the emotional tension I would be walking into.
When I got to my hometown, I was thrust back into the world I had left behind at full force. I got to see my family again and catch up with everybody. My sisters and cousins were both still in school and Tyson was working, so I had lots of time to myself to think. Luckily, I was able to secure a job relatively quickly, at the same place I worked at last summer. That was a huge relief for me, as finances were another source of tension for me. At least I had one of my affairs in order. Everybody else was doing what they usually do, Tyson and I started to look for apartments together, and we even both got a job at another restaurant in town. However, everything was not all fine and dandy. Unfortunately, tensions in my personal life were still very high. My great grandmother also passed away, less than two weeks after I returned home, which was a saddening event for my entire family. It only increased the tensions that were already present; however, as my great grandmother had lived many hours away from where I lived, I was able to travel with my family to visit the rest of my relatives, whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was lovely to reconnect with them, even if the circumstances were tragic.
Shortly after, I had to deal with transitioning from life at the University of Manchester to my life at UBCO. I had registration coming up shortly, and in order to do so, I had to declare my major. I had put a lot of thought into this while abroad, and I was happy to declare a Cultural Studies and English Combined Major, plus a Psychology Minor. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but I am really excited that I am going to be taking classes in the fields that I enjoy. I am still not 100% sure if UBCO is the right place for me, but I do know that I have chosen the right major. I have registered in classes and I will have to see what the fall holds for me.
Other than that, I have been busy working and trying to enjoy life in the Okanagan. I realized that I had travelled abroad to all of these incredible places, but at the same time, people from all over the world travel to the Okanagan to experience our valley. Thus, I decided it was time for me to really explore our valley and enjoy all that it has to offer. Working in the wine and restaurant industry, plus being able to enjoy the incredible wines we have, has definitely helped!! I’ve been going wine tasting, eating at restaurants, exploring the many towns in our valley, hiking, and hanging out at the beach. It has been amazing, but summer’s not over yet!
My childhood home has also recently sold, which has been a major transition for everyone in my family. As Tyson and I have not yet moved to our apartment, I have to move all of my things from my childhood home to where I am currently staying. It has definitely been quite the process, and I have lots of things to go through still. Tyson and I will be moving at the beginning of September, which will also be another big transition.. moving into our first place together! I’m a little nervous for all of these changes, but mostly super excited. If we didn’t change, we would never grow.
In conclusion, transitioning from exchange back to my “old” life has been quite the battle. I have tried to keep up my adventurous spirit and explore new places as much as I can in our valley, but I still miss travelling. I am definitely going to continue travelling in my future. I also really miss parts of Manchester and my friends!! It still seems so crazy to me that I actually had this incredible experience of living and travelling abroad. Sometimes it feels like it was all a dream.. Thankfully, I have the photos to prove it! I am really excited for the next adventures that life is going to bring me. Just because my exchange is over does not mean my exploring, travelling, growing and writing is over… I’m still here and I’m still going to do so, hopefully for many years to come.