Awareness of self is a tricky concept to understand and kind of a hard thing to accept if you don't particularly like the new information. If I have come away from this adventure with anything it is a great awareness of self. Many of the things I have uncovered about myself would never have been put into question if it weren't for many of those difficult situations I have since experienced. I had an expectation, a vision maybe that I would enter Nicaragua loving it, if not instantly than very very quickly. "They" said I would pick up the language fairly quickly, and I believed it. I believed that the language barrier would only last a short time, and soon enough I would really be able to communicate with the kids I was working with, the adults I was working for, my family and local friends along the way, however you can't really just 'pick up' a language like you'd pick up some forgotten item at the grocery store. It takes more time, effort and energy than I ever anticipated. In short, I thought I could pick up my life,plant it in some third world country and be the traveling gypsy I have always wanted to be.. but quickly I learned that this 'me' well.. it isn't really me at all.
I had these great expectations for my self and through the last three months I have learned that these are great expectations, wonderful even, but perhaps they are great and wonderful for someone else. At school they push seeing the world, how important it is, how much of a learning experience it will be and how it will forever shape you as a person. All of the above made me want to jump on board , but as I was jumping into this exciting, new, foreign world I thought for some reason I had to leave the other world behind, which has ignited many mixed thoughts and confused feelings. However after the time abroad and many nights spent thinking about it I have finally come to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be one or the other. I know this doesn't sound like rocket science and many probably have no idea why I was thinking such crazy thoughts, but here I am, and yes I was thinking them. I've learned that there is a thing called balance and it can be achieved. I've learned that I can travel to the four corners of the earth, but it doesn't necessarily have to be months at a time, and I've learned that there is no shame in wanting to travel differently. I mean though it is an experience, who really wants to sit in a chicken bus for five hours in the heat? I'll tell you, I think no one! I've also learned that traveling the world and volunteering is a very special experience, but there are also very special opportunities in my own backyard. As much as I thought this trip was about poverty awareness and experiencing a different culture, it was also about me, about who I am, and who in the future I hope to become. Three months took me on a roller coaster of emotions, tested everything I knew and challenged me in ways I never would have expected, and with all that said and done I am a little closer to discovering the true me, and for that i am grateful.