søndag 10. juli 2016

The End.

         There are moments in life where not even words are powerful enough to describe it. These moments are the ones that develops the unknown feelings that occur somewhere deep inside your body and just stay there. Sometimes for a short period of time. Other times longer. It makes you feel like a little stranger occupied the bottom part of your stomach because you are too disoriented about what is going on inside you. Something so strange and uncomfortable, yet something also very pleasing and that makes you feel alive. Sometimes the only thing that can describe a feeling, is the feeling itself. It states our state of mind, but strangely enough it sometimes is incomprehensible for our own mind to actually interpret this statement. Exchange is this state of mind. It is not like any other described emotion like happy, sad or angry. No, exchange has an unlimited description of its emotional purpose.

Exchange is wonderful.
Exchange is terrifying:
Exchange is rewarding.
Exchange is tough.
Exchange is life-changing.

The adjectives used to describe exchange have no limits. Not even will the adjectives fully describe it. Because on top of that there are all these personal experiences that form your own way of looking at it that are just as hard to describe. There is no correct definition of exchange. For every single exchange student the answer will be something different. That is the gifted part. Therefore, claiming exchange as a state of mind is definitely something every other exchange student would prove to agree with because of all these emotions connected to only one single word.

Theoretically, we all know what exchange is; you go to a foreign country for about a year and live in host families. Mentally, not even as an exchange student myself I can tell you if I understand what has been going on in my head for almost 11 months now. Especially if you have never gone on an exchange, don't even try to claim that you understand a single little bit of it. Because you don't, and never will, unless you experience it yourself on a personal level. There are all these people back home trying to understand, understand what I have been going through this year. But there is no understanding, there is experiencing.

Now as my exchange year has come to an end, my days mostly consist of me repeating my whole year over and over again in my head. The highlights are definitely the ones that pop up the most, but not always the only ones I want to remember. I have had bad times here. I have had very bad times, but it is these moments that I also want to remember as the times I grew as an individual. I have been without my parents for 11 months. That is a long time away from the people you keep the closest to your heart in the whole wide world, who also, luckily, tend to make your school lunch and do your laundry. Without my parents and other people to show me the way, I have not only learned how to wake up by myself or wash my own clothes, but I have learned how to be my own path maker, my own guide. I think I will see this even more clearly and rewarding as my whole exchange year has time to digest as this chapter ends and another one begins.

As all these memories from the past 11 months flashes before my eyes I have no other response than tears. Tears of joy. Even though not every tear through the year has been a happy one, it sure has been turned into one big now in the end. Still keeping my year's motto strong with stating that "Every experience is a good one." It surely has been. With what went wrong I learned from and moved on.

On day 326 my adventure officially ended. However, even though this is all over I will always keep the memories with me. I will forever be grateful for the memories I have created during my year here in Minnesota. It will always have a special place in my heart. I have been so lucky with ending up in a great city like Edina, with four families, going to a highly-skilled school with endless opportunities for activities and of course for making a lot of friends from even all around the world.

I've said goodbye to many people. It's weird how that is. I leave my best friends here to go back to my best friends in Norway. I leave my family to go back to my family in Norway. I leave my home to go back to my home in Norway. Strange, isn't it?

All I know is that these past 11 months has been a rollercoaster of a lifetime and I wouldn't change it for the world. I don't regret a single second of my time in Minnesota and neither do I regret the decision of doing an exchange year. I have created so many memories I could not have experienced any other way any other place. Especially am I grateful for Rotary Youth Exchange who made it possible for me to do this. Rotary is the best.

I want to wrap up this post and this year by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone who wanted to get to know me. Thank you to everyone who created amazing memories with me. Thank you to all my outstanding host families. Thank you Edina. Thank you for everything, Minnesota.

 "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."