Lately I've been spending my time doing a wide variety of things. I've been searching for a job with a very selective list of jobs in mind; sitting on the couch battling some virus with a box of tissues in one hand and a cup of tea in the other; searching for universities to attend, hoping that one will just magically make me decide what I want to do with my life; I've been studying, and avoiding studying; I've been watching How I Met Your Mother and Friends as if they're just going to disappear off of the television tomorrow. Basically, I'm keeping occupied, by trying to get everything, and nothing done. I'm not finding myself bored, and although most of my time does go into school and studying, I'm not completely overwhelmed. Luckily I got a bit of free time a few days ago when I came down with some weird end of summer virus, so I spent all day catching up with a few friends who live a little too far away and catching up with my sleep.
As I was talking to my friends, a Turkish friend particularly, I realized how much of my exchange I'm letting go of so quickly. I don't read as much anymore, and in America I take life at such a quicker pace. I knew that I'd probably end up losing my Turkish eventually, but it is happening fast. I don't take twenty minutes walking to the metro station a quarter of a mile away trying to explain to a friend how to pronounce the word "sword" or telling about my funny misuse of language in daily life. I don't get the opportunity to walk to the movie theater every weekend with the another exchange student, and make shadows in the streetlights on the way home while singing songs. I don't take the time to stop what I'm doing, smile, and think about what my future holds, amazing myself with the things I've already accomplished, and things I hope to accomplish, while also making myself realize that my exchange won't last forever.
A few days before my 18th birthday, a friend and I talked about how life back home (America) would probably be easier than life on exchange and some days we just want to wake up back home, but that there's no way we'd ever choose that for ourselves. We wanted our exchanges, even the hard times that came with them. Now that I'm home, and I've been home for over two months, I'm realizing more and more reasons how much my exchange has changed my life. I have a million memories I hope to hold on to forever, and although my exchange wasn't perfect (whose is?), I have times where I wish I could close my eyes and find myself right in a certain moment of my exchange when I open them.
I'm eternally grateful for every moment I spent in Turkey, the good and the bad, because I learned about things I never could have dreamed about learning here at home. I hope I can start applying some of my exchange lifestyle to my life here, but most importantly, I hope I can always remember the ten months that changed my life and who I am. I may not be the same girl who left her home to go to some far away land a year ago, but I'll always be Annie; and even when I'm trying to get everything done in my fast paced American world, I'll always cherish the memories that I know will last a lifetime.