Nostophobia | The fear of going home

I've now been in Belgium three weeks. I'm feeling comfortable here, though I've seen several of my fellow students suffer quietly in their discomfort for their surroundings, their culture shock (difficulty shopping, refusing to go out, etc.). I think I'm quite honestly to the point I'm fairly adjusted. I may butcher the hell out of French, but I can get what I want, and do. I think I've got the Metro down, and can go most anywhere. I'm independent, yet building an ever growing social network. My worse fear now is not really anything about adapting to Belgium, my condition is: Nostophobia, the fear of going home.

Look I know it's not rational, I've just got here, but in another week almost 1/4 of my time living here will be gone. Soon my dream, though fulfilled, will go back into its glass case to become nothing but memories, a glorified dream I can say I once lived. What I mean to say is I love it here, and as much as I look forward to Christmas with my family (and I really, really do), and reuniting with loved ones over a long meal of Taco Bell and a few dozen hot sauce packets; I can't fathom going back to the States, cuddling up in the cozy blanket of American nationalism and drinking the Kool-Aid.

I mean, I fully know what reverse culture shock is, hell I wrote a book on it, why the the hell am I experiencing it before I even get back? Is it because I know what's coming? What's coming is me being locked in a box, buried alive, and told to deal with it, because that's the way the world turns. Studying abroad was my single reprieve from my life sentence, but at such a large cost (literally) there's no way of duplicating the experience once it's over. No way I can see short of some random bit of luck in someday finding a job here.

I'm so grateful for what I've been given, but I wonder if it may have been a better choice to never have come. Sure I would have wondered, but I would have never known for sure what I know now. That I am strong enough, capable enough, and- if I so humbly suggest- deserving of a life better than what my social-economic class determines for me.

Life is so beautiful, so wonderful, but what do I do now? Do I go home finish my degree, and hope in another year-and-a-half I can manage to find a job abroad? Do I even have a choice?

Perhaps something is yet to happen, so horrible, that it will change my outlook and have me running back to the US  never wanting to return?  I'll vote Mitt Romney, stone my own gay family, and buy a fall-out shelter filled with guns. Maybe... but it's unlikely.

In the end, I suppose all dreams must come to an end, all stories eventually have a final chapter, and all characters must eventually encounter their hubris. My downfall, is likely my continued childish belief that all stories end happily if you just never give up.


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