The most popular question I have been asked is, “what does it feel like being back home?” On the surface I tell everyone it is great to see friends and family, which it is, but there is a deeper explanation I tell people if they truly care to know. My perception of America has changed over the past two years, some for the best.
I was asked if I think it will be difficult to go back before I left or the US. I said, “of course.” It is always a challenge when we encounter new experiences. I still remember how nervous I was to meet my host family. I nearly broke out in a nervous panic when we first sat down to coffee. In time, drinking coffee with them turned into a normal occurrence. To be honest, nothing seems very scary anymore. Yes, the nerves are still there, but the fear has faded. There is no need worrying, because life will unfold no matter how we react. So, you might as well make the best of it. If there is something that we can not handle, repetition will make it possible. I plan to travel the world, representing the US for the remainder of my career. This means coming home will become routine.
However, I must admit, the nerves were there as I walked out the terminal and saw my family with the “welcome home” signs. Those are times I will treasure when it is normal for Uncle Rich to come home for the holidays, and instead of a parade, I am picking up a rental car at the airport. This is the life I have chosen and life I intend to pursue. There is no need waiting behind fear, instead learn to use the nerves in your favor.
I went to Costco my first day back in California (For those who do not know about Costco, it is a large store with almost everything you will need). The abundance of the store was breathtaking, it actually sent me into mini nervous attack, the amount of abundance was overwhelming. Not only do Americans live in excess, the size of our middle class is astounding and one major piece to what makes America, America.
There is much more that I have experienced throughout my short time here back in America. Most of which I would not want to share on a public platform. However, for the most part, it is wonderful to see friends and family. Not only can I see the change in them, I can also see the change in myself. When we look back into our past we can be shown how far we have traveled, how much we have learned, and how much more we have to go.
*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and are not those of the Peace Corps or its affiliates.