I come home in three days. Three days. I know time flies when you’re having fun, but really?! Three days left?! I just read over my past blog posts and it honestly feels like just a couple weeks ago when I was writing “It’s my last night in America before I leave for four months…”
It’s a strange feeling – leaving. It’s strange that I left everything I’ve ever known to come live in England for the semester. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s going to be like to come back home and I can’t exactly wrap my mind around it. I know one thing for sure – it won’t be the same. At first I thought, “Yes, I’m going to go back home and carry on with my life just as I left it.” Almost as though I put my life on pause. But life didn’t pause. Everyone kept on living, and learning, and growing…and so have I.
I am not the same person as when I came to London in January. I’ve tried reflecting on what is exactly different but I’m not sure I can put my finger on it. Maybe it will be clearer once I’m at home, back in my element, and am able to compare how it is now to how it was then.
I’m coming back to America with a different outlook on the world. I’ve been places that most people have never been and seen things that most people have never seen. I never want to take that fact for granted and I never want to seem conceited about it either. But it’s the truth. Traveling abroad is an experience that is nearly unexplainable. The only people who can fully understand it are the people who have done it. I think it’s really cool that all of the study abroad kids in my program have something in common – a sense of adventure. We all are longing for something bigger than ourselves and we’re actively out searching for it. The best part is – the search isn’t over. I know I’m not the only one who has considered moving to London or doing another term abroad. Travel is addicting. But why? I think it’s because it’s a journey to finding out who we really are. Sometimes you have to get out of yourself to find yourself.
Here are just a few of the many things I’ve learned over the past few months:
Lesson #1 – God is huge. He is with us wherever we go. Always. Period.
I was worried about leaving my Bible study group and my church and my best friend Elena who is seriously a soul sister in Christ. I thought if I left all these things, I would lose my relationship with God and that scared me. But I was so wrong. God has revealed himself to me time and time gain. My relationship with Him has soared since I’ve been here. I’ve had a lot of free time (thanks to an easy class schedule) to really dive into the Word and prayer and find out who God really is. I’ve been welcomed into the London Vineyard so warmly and even got involved with a Bible study. I am constantly in awe of God’s enormity. He never leaves us or forsakes us.
Lesson #2 – Soak it in.
I’ve always been a planner. I’ve always craved adventures. I’ve always wanted to know what’s happening next because the hope of tomorrow is more exciting than the reality of today. But Abi said something to me in Scotland that honestly changed me. As she, Aaron, and I were singing karaoke in a small Dalkeith pub, she turned to me and said “Soak it in, Skylar!” It seems like such a simple concept but it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first time, I was actually soaking in a moment for everything it’s worth. Now, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a step back just to “soak it in.” Life is so sweet when we realize that tomorrow is today and there is excitement and adventure in every moment.
Lesson #3 – Home is where your mama is.
I miss my mom. I used to call her six times a day just to tell her funny stories (like the first day of college when I called to say, “I just saw a kid fall off his unicycle! Hahaha okay that’s all. Bye.”) We’re just close like that. I don’t talk to her every day anymore and that’s so weird for me. I don’t know what she’s up to and she has no idea what I’m doing most of the time. When I say I miss home, I mostly mean I miss my mom. She came to visit me over spring break and that was the best week of my semester. We sat in a cafe on some random street in London and talked for three hours – if I didn’t look around me, I could have been at my kitchen table for all I knew! Home is where your mom is, kids, and don’t ever forget that. And for you kids who don’t have a mom, your moms are in Heaven and that’s your ultimate Home so this message is for you too 🙂
These things that I’ve come to realize are constant. These are things that do not change. But we change and our circumstances change and life changes and that can be a little overwhelming at times. I’m coming back home to a life that hasn’t been put on pause, contrary to my former perception. I’m coming home with a boyfriend. I’m coming home with one less family member. I’m coming home to a brother who has gotten really big and has learned a lot of new things. I’m coming home and leaving behind the friends that I’ve made here. I’m coming home with a new outlook on life. I’m coming home without my old fears and insecurities. I’m coming home with a bigger idea of God than I left with. I’m coming home to where my mama is. I’m coming home and I’m gonna soak in every minute of every day even if it’s mundane because life is an adventure and I refuse to forget that.