away, adv.

Heard: In direct text conversation with my mother. “You need to make a list of all the things we need to do before you go away.”

Also, read: In a full-page magazine ad for RVs – all the wonderful adventures you’ll have while “away.”

“Away” means an awful lot to me at the moment, as I begin packing my bags to go away from everything I know. Away means absent, it means out of office, it means seeing things outside the norm, it means stepping outside of confines or boundaries and being somewhere unfamiliar.

Away is a wonderful thing to be (see: RV ads). Away means having new opportunities to see and do those things we can’t usually do at home. Away means not dealing with the problems we have while being here.

But away is not home. Away is an absence of solid ground. Away brings its own sets of anxiety and uncertainty and discomfort. Away is where we fade to, where we go to, where we find ourselves when we are not somewhere we recognize.

I’m feeling both versions of “away” settling deeper and deeper on me every day. Gratefulness for new opportunity is matched by fear of a foreign place, excitement to meet my peers and host family is matched by longing to see my family and friends from the States.

For the past week or so my away-ness has been settling in on me, and I’ve found myself solidly settled in a place between excited and anxious, not really knowing what to expect from the coming months. But I hope that, after a while, being in Stockholm will no longer feel like being away – Stockholm will be home.

I’ll forever be grateful for this opportunity to find a home away from home in Stockholm, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what this beautiful country and its beautiful people will come to mean to me.

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