It’s hard to imagine that a year ago I was just settling into bed for my first night in Durham. The memories from that day seem so vivid right now. The exhaustion from all of the goodbyes and the long flights, the incredible anxiety over finding my way in a brand new place (indeed a brand new country), the loneliness of knowing absolutely no one. I don’t consider time to be a linear thing at all. In fact, I feel as though I’m looking at Past Jen through a thin veil and I feel so excited for all the amazing things she is about to experience and I have experienced. It’s going to be an incredible year for Past Jen.
I’ve been back in the United States for two weeks now. It has been an interesting transition. I have managed to see some of my really dear friends (and was able to be in one of their weddings), I have unpacked all six of my suitcases, I’ve started CrossFit at my new box, and I’ve even managed to get some artwork done.
Truthfully, the move back to the US had been giving me great anxiety (I still have some). When you travel and live in a different place for an extended period of time, you change. Sometimes the changes are imperceptible but in my case, the changes have been on the order of St. Paul’s Cathedral. I feel out of place here now, like a puzzle piece in the wrong box. It is apparently a normal feeling for ex-Pats who come back, but it is unsettling.
I’m still uncertain about the future. I can only imagine Future Jen sitting somewhere behind the veil smiling about my present trepidation. In a week I will have a Skype interview for my PhD application at Leicester. Perhaps in a week I will know what Future Jen is smiling about. Perhaps, I won’t know for a while longer. In any case, I wish Past Jen the best wishes for an exciting year and I, for the moment, think I need a cup of tea, Earl Gray, hot while I sit with my memories.