“Why am I doing this again?” I thought after my honeymoon phase in my host community had ended. I was scared, feeling lonely, and was experiencing culture shock. My smooth sailing had come to an end and reality started to hit. The fact that I would be spending six months in my community and the expectation of “change and growth” I had set for myself started to daunt me. And my emotions only seemed to get worse when I got sick and my culture of watching TV and blowing up the internet when sick collided heads with my family’s culture of sitting in bed all day in silence when sick. Don’t get me wrong I would not necessarily label my life “horrible,” but I was home sick and was missing the freedom and the luxury I had back at home, like being able to talk to friends on the phone without worrying about speed talking because I only had a $1 saldo (minutes) or being able to sleep without having to worry about setting up my mosquito net.
After giving myself time for pity and time to think, the answer of why I had started this journey came to me. Sure I had not expected that things would be this difficult, but I also knew it would not be easy. I know that it’s at my downfalls that I learned the most about myself and that was one of the main reasons why I decided to take a bridge year. And believe me, my patience has been tested, twisted, and pushed beyond my limit. But I can say that my mindset has definitely changed and that it is no longer of a child, but that of a person who has been influenced by a different culture and different perspectives.
Knowing this gave me hope if I could learn and grow this much in a couple of weeks then I knew that this journey although not the easiest was definitely the right choice for me. Besides, I had already had the courage to start this journey so now I only need to give it my all so that I could come out stronger than when I had started.