Well, a year has now almost come and gone and tomorrow morning I'll be standing in the airport saying goodbye and then boarding a flight to Florida. It's insanely hard for me to believe I am leaving so soon. I look at my packed bags sitting in my now empty bedroom and still can't help but feel like it's unreal. How is it that I will actually be going "home" tomorrow? Even with the sad puppy dog eyes looks I've been receiving all week from EVERYONE, I still don't believe it. I have cried my eyes out saying goodbye to my closest friends and yet I still feel as if I'll see them in August when school starts again. Maybe it just hasn't set in yet, or maybe I'm in pure denial.
My year has been fantastic. Rotary tells us to not make expectations for our exchange, but I always did suck at following the rules. I made expectations. Denmark basically was nothing like my expectations- but in the best way possible. I have somehow actually learned this language that I used to struggle so much with. I have made lifelong friends that I am already getting excited about seeing when I come back to Denmark. I have managed to feel at home in this country and in my host families..... basically, I fit in more than expected. I came to learn that in some ways I'm more Danish than some real Danes even.
I think it's safe to be all sappy here and say I've changed so much this year. People who have known me all year tell me how much I've changed and even I can see it. Not just on the outside (although that Rotary fat and the many hairstyle changes from my host mom has helped). My views on almost EVERYTHING have changed. I've grown a lot. When I came here (and even half way through the year and admittedly still even now in some ways) I was the most sincerely naive girl person. I have learned about life, love, happiness, and the world in the best way possible- through living.
I honestly don't know what to say. You all know what has happened this year- I've had a ton of adventures, experienced heartache, been purely happy in the most innocent ways possible, and learned. I guess I could share my newfound knowledge (I'm sure all my Danish friends are laughing at the thought of an american actually learning something), but that would ruin all the fun for my friends who haven't figured these things out yet.
Truth time- leaving sucks. I hate this. I hate crying. I hate saying goodbye to people that I have become so close to in such a short time. I hate packing. I hate the sad faces I get from people here because they all know I'm leaving soon. I hate being asked if Im excited about going home.
As much as I hate the thought of tomorrow and what it means, I know it will end alright. Tomorrow is the only day where I will see the people that mean the most to me in both of my countries. Saying goodbye will suck, but I'll survive. As my best friend and I have decided "it won't be okay, but we'll survive". I know I'll be back. I know I'll see everyone that matters to me again. Just as this year was hard at times, the next year of coming back to Florida will be hard, but I'll survive and maybe (just maybe since I'm still a bit sketchy on this) I may even find some sort of happiness back in Florida. Until I come back to Denmark I'll just have to survive the horrible heat of Florida and live off of memories and skype.
For Rotarians: Thank you! Thank you for everything this year. You made this possible. I could say it's your fault that I've cried so much, but then you may feel guilty about giving me the greatest opportunity ever. I will never be able to say thanks enough, but I'm sure I'll always try.
For my host families: Tusind tak! Jeg elsker jer så højt! Tak for I år og alt I har givet til mig. Jeg føler mig bare som jeg er jeres lille Florida pige og jeg føler mig som jeg er hjemme når jeg sidder ind i jeres huse. Tusind tak og vi ses igen.
To my family in Florida: Thanks. I love you. You have put up with my being a brat while preparing to go, you've let me go on my own for a year and been great. You've accepted me for who I was and now for who I've become. You've put up with my grumpiness over returning and always remembered that as much as I don't want to return I love y'all. You've jumped through hoop after hoop to give me the world and for that I love you.
For my Danish friends: Jeg elsker jer så meget. Det har kun været et år men jeg har komme til lære jer at kende. I har set mig bliver mig som jeg er nu.... og måske er det lidt jeres skyld at jeg er sådan ;) Jeg er helt sikker på at vi skal ses igen. Hvis I kommer til Florida næste år eller om 20 år skal I bare ringe og så kan I besøge mig! Vi ses skatter!
To the exchange students: We did it! We survived a year in our host countries. We stuck together and made it. Thanks for being there whenever we needed to vent or sit and laugh about stupid things they do (both in our home and host countries). I love y'all. If you're from FL I can't wait to see you at our orientation and if you were on my eurotour bus Im so happy to have shared those awesome 18 days with you! Love y'all!!!!!
Well thats about it. My exchange is ending and so will this blog. Maybe I'll make one in a couple of months about coming home. It's been a crazy year, but it's been great.