Home, Family, Faith, and Love

The value of this year in my journey and life now seems indescribable and difficult to express in words. I feel a sense of rooted connectedness and attachment to this place far away that’s been nurtured from my time there. This year has given me something so special, so beautiful, and so important that it will forever stay close to my heart.

Reflecting on the natural moments, the memories, and the kindness, compassion, affection, care, and love feels endearing. I’ve grown in ways that I myself did not expect. Flying home to Washington D.C. last week, I felt conflicted. I hadn’t felt this conflict back in December when I had flown home to Florida over winter break, but this time felt different. I was very much excited to come home, but at the same time, in the airport, I had felt this emotional tug and nostalgia because – by chance or by fate – I had found home and family in this place faraway. Home is where the heart finds solace, a sense of rootedness and belonging. Home to me will always be where my family is, and so, this year, what’s considered home to me has grown.

So much has happened these past months, both abroad and back in the US. My life experiences feel serendipitous, and I’m in awe of what’s happened as well as what this year has given me. Again, by chance or by fate, it was the spontaneous moments and coincidences that brought me the most beautiful stories, memories, experiences, and friendships. Missing a certain flight or taking a certain train, I somehow ended up at exactly the “right” station, at exactly the “right” place, and exactly at the “right” time. I’ll be honest – I wish I did a better job of writing down, blogging, and documenting some of the best stories, adventures, and moments, but also, I needed to live in the moments. Now, some of the most awesome and greatest moments will last as memories.

But there are also the moments that fade as I find myself already forgetting to remember all the people and connections I made along the way. For example, lost and extremely cold one frigid night, not knowing how to get to the airport from the city center led to a conversation with a security guard at a random hotel in Dublin from 2 am to 5 am about life and the ‘Wire’ before a 7 am flight.

On an unrelated different flight, I met a veteran who had served for over 15 years for the U.S. military, but his upbringing had been entirely in Ireland. He was publishing a book about what it was like being from Ireland and then becoming accustomed to the U.S. military. He told me his stories, showed me a few clips from films he acted in, and then we synced our plane screens together to watch “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” a military movie he had already watched, but wanted to watch it again with me.

There were countless other moments and people I met who each had their own stories: a music video director from Paris because I was hungry at 2 am; a young waitress in a coffee shop who gave me a blanket, a free Shirley temple (cherry-Sprite), and a place to charge my phone in the middle of the night; a family from Newcastle, England who took care of me and wanted me to visit so that we could go to a game; a group from Brazil who needed help knowing which train to take; to a family from Sardinia on the train because their baby wouldn’t stop staring at me; to the groups of people I met who stayed up with me all night at the airport – once because a flight was missed, and the other because the airport gates don’t open until the morning; and to the many more moments and connections that were made in such spontaneous situations over the year, giving me so many to stay in touch with and hundreds of stories to tell. Encountering this universal kindness and compassion was incredibly inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting.

A lot of change has happened, and while I was away, even more change has happened in my life and the world as well. But the time for me to return home has approached fast, and there is much that awaits me. I experienced and learned so much about myself, about people, and about the world around me. I learned diverse aspects of different cultures and lifestyles, and I’ve even expanded my learning of another language. The year was packed, and there’s much to reflect on, but not enough space to fit it all in. I had travelled a lot to other cities and countries for the first time: London, Edinburgh, Paris, Barcelona, (Cancun during winter break), etc., and the countries of Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, and Portugal, etc. It was some of the people I met and some of the connections, experiences, memories, and stories I made that’ll be remembered and treasured most.

Yet what I will always truly cherish the most from this year close to my heart is home, family, faith, and love, which is part of a special story of its own. I’m eternally grateful for what this year has given me, and I feel a deeper sense of rooted connection to the world around me. The people of the village that made me the person I am today is strong; looking out and caring for one another. I now feel more motivated than ever to be the best version of myself and continue on my journey with purpose towards the impact and legacy I want to have, to being the leader I want to be. I also find joy in getting lost in loving the world and getting to also know the world we are working hard to save. I want to continue to be spirited and curious, to learn, to innovate and to create. I feel emboldened to take action, and determined for my motivation to be more, do more, and inspire more.

Home on both sides of the Atlantic, To the Future, The Story Continues
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *