Leaving Home to Go Home | Teen Ink

Leaving Home to Go Home

August 12, 2017
By simplyinferior GOLD, Ottawa, Illinois
simplyinferior GOLD, Ottawa, Illinois
15 articles 0 photos 23 comments

 My nails dig helplessly into the armrests as my forehead presses tightly against the small, circular window, giving me the last glimpses of everything I’d come to love, as they disappear thousands of feet below me. Tears escape my eyes, straining not to blink or miss a second of the beautiful, warm, glowing lights of my city that continue to grow smaller and further away from my grasp. I’m forced to turn my head away when the dark clouds form a suffocating wall, blocking the view of everything below. I close my eyes and picture all the faces of everyone I love who I’m leaving behind. I don’t fight the tears anymore, my heart aching from the pain of goodbyes.

Waking from a dreamless sleep, my gaze falls on the first glimpses of my home country below me. This doesn’t feel like a homecoming; It doesn’t feel like anything at all. Emptiness and dread claw at my chest, and the land below seems so plain and dull. I suppose everything does now without the shimmering sea or the snow capped peaks of the grand Andes Mountains.

Upon landing and leaving the plane, an immediate sense of strangeness envelopes me. It could have been the sticky humidity from the summer’s heat, or perhaps how the air simply smells different in a way I could never explain. A headache begins to form as everything I hear is overwhelmingly English, and my brain can’t seem to process it correctly. I feel like a foreigner in my own country, as I hover close to a group of people speaking Spanish, the only calamity I can find in something familiar. I trudge forward with zombie like movements, wanting to run back and beg the flight attendants to let me get back on the plane.

Flash forward a few weeks and as hard as I try, I still can’t fit into the mold I left behind forever ago. I watch every plane that flies freely above me with a pang of jealousy. I can’t say where home is anymore. Many will give the cliche answer that it’s where the heart is, but my heart has been shattered and carried to different corners of the world. I can only hope that one day I’ll go find them one day, in pursuit of feeling whole again.

The author's comments:

This is a piece about coming home from a year of studying abroad. Many people experience reverse culture shock after returning back home after a long time. It's hard to build a life and leave it behind so quickly.

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