Trip Start Jan 09, 2011
Trip End Dec 04, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, January 30, 2012

After a year abroad, traveling to 7 countries other than my own, and the countless changing my heart from here to there, I'm back at home in my room in Merced. I can't belief that everything went so fast, but at the same time I can almost remember each day as it would go by. I never thought that I would grow and adapt as I have, I've always had the desire to travel, but I can't believe I actually did it. I only wish that everyone had the opportunity.

Botswana ended quicker than it had begun. As the last two months sped by I studied as hard as I could for soil science, and I remember writing many a lab report into the early morning hours, and I watched so many vector calc videos on youtube I'm pretty sure my suggested videos will always involve derivatives. Regardless, finals came and were very relaxed, much like my year in Africa for the most part. I left to the Okavango Delta with my Abroad group in high spirits feeling I had succeeded in my classes.

The delta was beautiful and seeing everyone for the last week was both good and bad. We had gotten tired of each other, but in the same way people get tired of being around their family. I miss all of them so much already, and I'm lucky enough to be in California with the larger chunk of students. I will probably never forget that trip for the rest of my days.

 Saying goodbye to my host family was hard. I felt like I had grown into an older sibling, and I had never really experienced that before going abroad. For the first time in my life I was a role model for younger kids. I feel like if I learned how to be a brother, and I hope I never forget it. Someday I hope all my siblings from Botswana can come visit California(hopefully they won't grow so I can still be the tallest).
The friends I've made abroad have changed my view on people. Everyone is cooler han you think they are(just trust me), and a first impression most of time will be 100% wrong. I have realized that the way I've judged people has always been irrelevant as of late. Having an open mind can benefit everyone, and being in Africa has taught me much. If Africa taught me anything though, it would be how to make and be a good friend

I know how to treat people now. I know what family really means. I know that as bad as it sounds, we are a resource together, and everyone is just as connected to everyone else. (In the least hippiest way of course) Really though,

I remember a day in Tanzania when we(myself and my friend Elliott) were explaining to a tailor that we all came from Africa, and if you traced humans back far enough, it would only make sense for there to be one mother for all people(abstract, but true). The tailor, who had never heard this theory before, accepted it. I remember someone saying something along the lines of "we're just brothers in different colors" and that day I realized I could never be that far away from home.

And America looks a lot different from the outside-in. I think as a people we should realize that. We ARE American. We can't really change that, and even more-so now than ever. I appreciate and love the country I live in, but not for the same reasons of others. 

I do not love our comforts-I think that our closest possessions limit and distract us, and I don't think the answer would be to simply rid ourselves of them either, and I could continue to lists the things I don't like about our culture, but I would rather list the positives

I love that my school gives me opportunity to expand my mind, I've never put such value on knowledge before seeing the lack of it in other countries. In all reality, I've only learned how much I don't know in being abroad.  

I love my family and my friends, I love learning new things and meeting people, I love feeling adventure in every day. I don't thing I'll every give any of that up, and I know that because I decided to trade the first two for the second too, to realize I've had all 4 all along.
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