Thai and stop me

By Cassidy in Thailand

I didn't realize I was already way past my halfway mark of my Rotary exchange until just recently. It's completely crazy to think that seven months ago I was working in a grocery store, living with my parents and my brothers, and having never been away from home for more than two weeks at a time. As I left for my exchange, I had no idea what to expect, and no idea how I was going to make it all work. The week before I left, I had a lot of second thoughts. I questioned whether or not this was going to turn out okay, and I feared I was making the wrong decision, but now, I can tell you that my exchange was the best decision I have ever made.

I'm so grateful for everything, and I'm so proud of myself for how far I've come. Before I left, I liked to think of myself as mature, but now, I have so much more understanding of what maturity really is. I don't always recognize it myself, but I think that I must be so different from the girl I was before I left. Everything about me has changed, especially my ideas about the world. One of the things that I said I wanted to be before I left was a "global citizen," and I feel as though I have earned the right to call myself that. I do see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I also see it through the perspective of someone who knows what it feels like to be looked at and treated differently.

One of the things that I think is going to be hard is coming home. While I know that everyone is constantly changing in response to the world around them, I would imagine that exchange has made me change a lot more. I'll be coming home to the same parents, same brothers, and same friends, but I'll be a different person. That's a bit of a scary thought. Even though I know I've changed for the better, I'm curious about how I'll be once I'm back home. Will life at home be the same as it was before? I don't think so. One of my favorite quotes about exchange sums this up pretty well: "You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place."

But I have to say, the price I pay is worth it.

To this article is from the blog page of Cassidy in Thailand, a teenage girl from Massachusetts living in Phitsanulok, Thailand under the Eastern States Student Exchange program. To visit her page, click here.

She is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Milford. To visit their website, click here.

To learn more on ESSEX, click here.