Last Saturday, I woke up, rushed, and drove to the airport, sad to be leaving my host family that had welcomed me so lovingly into their hearts and home.
I flew from Salzburg to Frankfurt.
My flight was on time.
I missed my flight to the US.
I ran around to several different counters, spoke to different representatives, and had to go through passport check stations multiple times.
I rescheduled my flight - leaving in about 7 hours.
I reached the US, finally found my luggage, went through customs, had my bags checked.
I left the security area and saw my brother in person for the first time in almost a year.
He ran and got my parents, and the joy and relief were tangible.
Two hours of driving later, we were at our house.
Having been in the US for a full week, I feel that it is about time to start recording my reactions to being what may be called "home." Yes, it is, but not fully. I miss Austria more than I had expected and less, as well - it depends entirely on the moment. Resuming my old life is reassuring but also unsettling as I fully come to realize what it means. I have to partially let go of things I have become used to. What I had forgotten had to be taken up again.
Much of what I first experienced - reverse culture shock - was simply just being overwhelmed. I did not, have not, seen too many people since coming back, but just going out to Walmart was shocking for me initially. I had forgotten how much space we have here that allows us to expand in such ways; I once asked one of my Austrian friends if she thought that Americans were wasteful with their land (she having been to the US). She said that before she went, she had thought so, but after seeing the layout, mindset, and way of life we maintain here, she now fully understands it and does not think it wasteful. I agree with her, but there is still a little mocking voice in the back of my mind despite the fact that it is already normal again.
If you took the time to read this as I lived my year in my adopted country, thank you :) It was brought to my attention that many were not sure whether or not I intended to continue blogging after the allotted year was over, and I would like to inform you all that I believe I will! It may be a bit different that before, but I will always be glad to have readers. Naturally, I am not taking as many pictures, but here are two that I snapped along the way...
I was glad to see Muffin again :)
And one American adventure I had to have: Chick-fil-A sandwich!