I leave Oman in four weeks. In contrast, I have been here for nearly nine months. Those nine months have flown by in the blink of an eye.
I’ve been looking back through old pictures from the beginning of the year. I’ll open one and think how there is no way that this or that could have been back in October. Everything feels like it happened just yesterday. And I know that four weeks will zoom by and, before I know it, I’ll be back in the United States.
One of the most perplexing questions I’ve ever been asked—and it is actually a regular occurrence now—is ‘are you excited to go home?’ I guess I understand where people are coming with the question, but aside from creating some awkward moments, it is outrageously difficult to answer. Am I excited? Yes, undeniably. I miss my family and friends, and though I initially pushed those feelings back in the notion of living-the-Omani-life, the prospects of finally seeing the people I have missed for a year are joyful indeed. And truthfully, a bit of me is ready to move on with my life. Something we exchange students (in Oman) often discuss is how we don’t want to go back to our old lives per se, but how we are ready to move on with the adventures that are bound to fill the rest of our lives. So while I’m not 100% thrilled about going to another year of high school, I am thrilled with the prospect of college tours, volunteer opportunities, and other events that will fill me summer and next year.
While I am indeed excited about the going, I’m not excited about the leaving. The past few months especially have been so clarifying for me. The first 6-7 months here were merely formative ones in which I learned the ropes of my life here. They were often stressful. Now, here I am feeling absolutely comfortable at home, school, and just about everywhere that I go. In the past few months, I left the rocky pattern of adjustment and moved on to a state in which I was able to absorb so much more information. I’ve seen my Arabic understanding levels skyrocket; I can understand most of what people say, particularly my host family and close friends. I have to ask fewer questions because the inferences I make are usually right. My interpersonal relationships have grown exponentially, and I feel like my own intrapersonal relationship has grown as well.
A lot can happen in nine months. To use an analogy from another exchange blogger, in nine months, two tiny bits of genetic material can grow to a whole complex human being. While perhaps the changes I have seen in myself have been less dramatic and I don’t quite know how to articulate in what ways, I do feel changed. Oman has changed me.
If the last year has been any indication, the next four weeks will fly by. I’m going to try to spend the remaining time being as Omani as possibly, soaking it all up, because I know that I will never again have an opportunity like this. For this reason, I will be blogging a bit less than I have in the past, but I do promise to try to update.