So it turns out, in order to go somewhere new, you have to leave where you are now. Who knew?

At first when nostalgic feelings came up, I shoved them away. I was afraid they were feelings of regret. Afraid that if I were REALLY ready to go I would feel nothing but happiness about leaving. But one of the most important adulting lessons I’ve learned in my 28 years (happy birthday to me!) is to acknowledge and identify emotions. Whatever they may be. 

So I realized: nostalgia, emotion upon leaving a place you call home, is not a bad thing. It’s only an acknowledgement of happiness that exists in a location or with a group of people. So in my final two weeks stateside, I am embracing the duality of my emotions: excitement for the adventure ahead, and sadness for the one being left behind. 

On Sunday I spent the morning at a patriotic 9/11 memorial that my sister, a member of the police honor guard, participated in. Then I went back to my home town, where I grew up, and saw an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years. Then I went to a lovely going-away party thrown for me by my aunt. It was the perfect day to celebrate what I am leaving behind: my country, my home, my family. 

T-15 days. 

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