I am still baffled by the fact that I have been home for almost six weeks after returning from study abroad. Our last month in Budapest flew by as we entertained numerous fellow K students, squeezed in a few last weekends of travel, and tried to make it to our favorite nighttime hangouts one last time. On top of that we all worked on individual research papers to finish our school work for Eötvös Lorand University. I worked with the Institute of Philosophy in Budapest to rework an argument for artificial intelligence and met one-on-one with a professor to complete it. Others worked with dogs, developmentally challenged children, and computer programs. After I handed in my paper and gave a short final presentation, I met my dad at the Budapest airport and welcomed him to my city. We toured, talked, and enjoyed all my favorite things in Budapest one last time before packing up to return to the States, to my mom and brother, and to my dog.
Some people ask me if I miss Budapest and if I would have stayed longer. My answer is that I was ready to come home, but Iʼll go back. I was physically exhausted from all the travelling and mischief making. I really missed my brother who was not able to visit me due to his autism and lack of interest in anything that isn’t related to Disney. Claire and I would have full conversations about things in the United States that we were really looking forward to having again. A few of them include mounted showerheads, sour patch kids, diet coke, Target, and online shopping. Five months is a long time to go without seeing your family and everyone enjoys their creature comforts. (Plus, I was broke).
The first things I noticed coming back were peoples’ twangy Michigan accents, the large scale of everything from cars to fountain pops, and the fact that I no longer knew the value of a US dollar. People smile and talk to you for no reason. I can be picky at restaurants. I can talk to the cashier at the grocery store. My vocabulary has returned to me as I no longer communicate with just a handful of words and gestures. And people never stop asking, “How was it?!”
Now that I am back, I have recently moved into an apartment in Kalamazoo and am really excited to be living off campus for the spring with my best friend and former First-Year roommate. I have been looking for summer jobs, meeting with professors, and finalized my class schedule. Since I have arrived at the end of the quarter, I am wary to try and hang out with anyone because they are all super swamped with exams and final papers. But here I sit, across from an old friend in the library like nothing has changed, except that I hardly recognize half the campus. It’s good to be home.