The weekend following Thanksgiving was a blissful time—meals made together, a Saturday night talent show, and the glorious mountaintop view from the Cabana where we stayed in the nearby town of Straja. Still, throughout the weekend, there was an air of the ever-looming days to come in December.
The return to the homeland.
Friday and Saturday were filled with re-entry workshops, multiple questions, time for reflection, and a whole lot of preparing responses for those who only felt obligated to ask us about our time in Romania. We basked in the fun and the fellowship of the weekend, foregoing the MULTIPLE, multiple projects we had coming up, gradually allowing the realization to sink in more fully.
How could we begin to feel out going home? What was there to feel, exactly…or really, how could we feel it all at once?
Throughout the following week, dinner conversations in Apartment Jane (the name affectionately given to our humble abode by Becky, Lyric, Charlotte, and myself) touched more extensively on these thoughts. We each spoke of how different life had become here over such a short span of months, especially after no longer living in the homes of true-blooded Romanians.
What I myself have best came to understand as Romania has felt all the more distant since moving into the apartments. This is not to say I haven’t enjoyed my time here—that would be completely disregarding such an amazing highlight of the semester. But not being forced to speak an awkward Romenglish…never having to refuse a second slice of white bread...straining to try and remember as to never forget…this doesn’t feel like life in Romania.
Yet I realize that for the past three months, I’ve washed my face with Romanian water; I’ve lived off Romanian produce, gorged on Romanian chocolates and pastries; my now-broken-in hiking boots have only known Romanian soil, and several Romanian dogs have been named; America has become the new foreign nation, and Romanian money no longer feels like it belongs in a Monopoly game.
We’ve lived a portion of our lives here, and those days are ones that can never be relived on American soil.
When having to picture the home you’re coming back to after a long trip, it’s important to know what’s waiting for you. Yet, our home in Romania was always waiting for us, and no degree of foreshadowing could’ve made known everything that was in store for us. We come to realize that full comprehension only comes from comparison. Romania will be made fully Romania when it is no longer closest in proximity—although we may fear forgetting, it is only upon our return that we will fully have it back.