Six months and six countries later, I find myself back in Virginia. I wanted to come back for a while, so I did. I immediately regreted it, but I am glad that I have the time to reflect on what I have learned and really think about my goals for the upcoming year. You have to know what you did right and wrong in order to make plans for the next year right?
Here are some of the things that I have realized/learned about myself and people while I was away (one for each month!):
1. If you want a different result, you have to do something different. I have seen people (including myself) who do the same thing over and over and get upset that they are not getting a different result. They add 2 + 2 and hope to get 5, when from past experience, they know good and well that the answer is 4 and will always be four. I hope to keep this in mind as I move forward with my life and remember that if something is not working it must be changed, sooner rather than later.
2. I am a city girl. I loved living in tiny rooms in Singapore, Korea, and Japan. I don’t mind having a cheap small/non-existant living room/kitchen because the cafe down the street is your living room where you study and the hawker center/Kopitiam/CoCo Curry House, that is a 5 minute walk from your door, is your kitchen. Everything is within a stones throw, and for the things that are not, I loved hoping on a bus or metro and not having to worry about traffic jams. Nothing beats the feeling of the city lights and sounds violently hugging me as I walk around at midnight with nowhere in particular to go.
3. Never give up on your dreams. A cliche, I know, but I really think that it is true and it keeps people sane, and gives them purpose. I think that everyone should have a dream or goal, if you don’t then find one, and never give up on it. Even though you may get side-tracked from your dream or goal, don’t think, or let anyone make you think, that it is too late to go back to it. YOUR DREAM IS STILL THERE. YOUR DREAM IS WAITING FOR YOU. Do not make excuses. The only valid excuse is death, all others are false.
4. I am a flake. You know. One of those people, who says “Oh, I’ll be there, I’ll be there!”, but then never shows up. It’s not because I didn’t want to go. Most of the time, when I say that I want to be there, I really do, but somehow I end up spreading myself too thin with commitments, over-sleeping, or missing a train, etc, etc. I want to change this, so I am going to stop making promises to be at a certain event if I am not 100% sure that I can make it, and make a bigger effort to be where I promised that I would.
5. Making friends are easier than I thought. Before I left, I thought that making friends was one of the hardest things in the world. It’s not. In Singapore I met one of the coolest Brits eva’, who is now officially one of my besties. In Seoul, I gorged on all you can eat chicken wings and partied, danced gangnam style, and laughed with like minded people. In Tokyo, I was invited by a friend to an english language practice (when I come back, we have to get that Yakinuku!!!) that I met at an Indian culture meetup, where learned more about modern Japanese culture than I could have in any book. Making friends is not hard. Putting yourself out there is hard. Once I put myself out there, I met many like minded people, and had a great time with each and every one one them. Some of them will be my friends for life. Some of them I will never see or talk to again, and that is OK. Friends for an hour or friends forever, what is important is that we all made each other feel alive and shared a good laugh! You do not have to be alone.
6. I want to go to like, 40 more countries. I am going to have to think of how to make this happen.