I wrote this almost two years ago, when I returned from my year abroad in South America. The sentiment has not changed; indeed, it may well have grown stronger.
I sit in the living room of my sister’s house. It’s half past six and everything around me is slowly being illuminated by the pale morning light. I have just arrived, after having been on the road for a year. I am suddenly struck by a wave of…something, and I choke back tears, startled by their appearance. It takes a while to recognize it, but eventually, I find the word I’m looking for. Alienation. Despite having arrived home, I have never felt more out of place.
I am no stranger to this feeling. It has struck me many times. In the house of a stranger, surrounded by friends, on the side of a cold mountain, on a sunny afternoon at the beach. Alienation is a feeling I am familiar with, having spent an entire year abroad, away from home. All those other times though, the feeling had never been this strong, and I had accepted it as a part of being away from my family and friends. This…this caught me by surprise.
I wasn’t supposed to feel alone in my own home.