Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Getting on with my life

Today a year ago was the day I got on a plane to Colombia. It is quite strange to see how many things have changed in the pastime. Now I do more sports than I could have ever imagined and I am quite confident with (almost) everything happening right now in my life. A year earlier... not so much. In this one year we had two weddings and one newborn in my family, another wedding and another newborn within my friends. I got to know great people, I learned how to overcome that typical central-European grumpiness, I moved into a new flat with a great flat mate, I got a fulltime-job, I learned to be more grateful for the little things (and the big things as well) and I started to change things that always annoyed me about myself and I am doing quite good! 

I could probably say I have finally moved on from my “reversed culture shock”. If you are suffering from it right now and looking for a cure, I better tell you right now: there is none. I read that you normally suffer from it for as long as you have been abroad, which were about six months for me, and I can confirm that it really takes that long and you better just wait until it goes away. And you better occupy yourself through that time because else you get cabin fever. But you can use the time for doing something useful, like getting to know yourself better and what you really want from life. That worked quite well for me.

I also read many articles that stated that many things, like doing sports or writing about your experiences, help by dealing with reverse culture shock. I did all of it, but I can’t really say it helped in any way. Sure, successfully hiking on a mountain does release endorphins that make you feel better, but I guess partying every weekend has the same effect. So you choose.

So, as you might have guessed, coming back wasn’t always easy, I was quite suffering sometimes. It was sooo cold, I had no short-time-goals in life, nothing to plan (which is quite a horror for me), and no money – which was probably good, because else I would have just left again to travel somewhere else, but still, life is just easier when money is available. I often sat at home in my bed and thought “What am I doing with my life?” Working helped – a lot. I was finally occupied again, outside of my own flat – it was driving me crazy to sit around at home – and I had money again.

 And I was so content with being back and living in Austria. I thought that now after my big trip the wanderlust will wear off because now it is more important to establish a steady life. What a stupid idea. It’s just so boring. It worked as long as I had something to plan, some project to work on, which was in this case moving into another shared flat, but now that my room is furnished, decorated and everything, I am longing to travel again and discover somewhere new. How could I think I would survive for so long without planning my next trip? So, Austria is great, it really is, but there is so much more in life that I won’t be missing out.

From other articles I read that many people had problems getting back into their circle of friends or that they suddenly couldn’t get along with some people anymore. I thought that’s quite strange because for me it was more like the opposite. I started contacting people I haven’t heard of for a long time because I was curious and it was always worth the effort! Also, my friends have been and still are great. They supported me (but not too much so I wouldn’t get too comfortable) and as always, were always there when I needed someone to do fun stuff (who wouldn’t?). They were all happy to hear about my stories and totally accepted that I might have another perspective now that I have experienced different things than them.

Now the next step, besides planning my next big trip that will go to Brazil and Argentina, will be finishing my studies. It is actually quite strange that I haven’t finished it yet, because my life has always been straightforward, this is actually the first time I take more time for my studies, and while I really enjoy this time now, I had to shut up my conscience that likes to remind me “you could have been finished by now”. I have always completed everything in minimum duration; now it’s okay when I take this time for myself and nothing to feel bad about. No worries – I will finish it. Soon! And if I ever feel demotivated in my new job, I can just look at pictures from Iguaçu Waterfalls (that’s where I want to go) and I am sure my motivation will boost again. It feels good when life finally has a direction again.

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