A life in a year
The journey has been long, it began in March 2013 when I was 13 years old, I read about this girl Sofia who was an exchange student in California. In May 2015, I handed in my application to become an exchange student. In February 2016, I heard from my host family for the first time. In August 2016, I left my family, friends and safety back in Sweden and alone I jumped on the 15 hours long flight to arrive in my new hometown Frisco, Texas.
4th of September, I’ve now spent one month in my new hometown and I don’t feel like myself anymore. Who am I? Who is this person called Tova? Cause I for sure don’t act like I used to.This is where the search for myself truly began. 14th of October, I’m a new person or that’s at least what it feels like. I’m nothing like I was back in Sweden, I’m shy and insecure but a lot nicer and way more thoughtful. My whole life I’ve been described as a powerful individual with strong opinions and a queen at socializing, and now I was the one sitting quiet at the dinner table. There is two versions of me, but which one is the real Tova? 15th of November, I’m completely alone in this and it’s freaking me out. I can only trust myself and I don’t even know who I am - how am I supposed to be able to know anything?
20th of January, I don’t feel as lost anymore, actually I feel a lot more confident about myself, perhaps more than ever. I’ve learnt to trust people here, and they have given me perspective. Six months later and I’ve been able to combine the two versions of myself to create one unit. A unit, powerful like the Swedish Tova but nice and thoughtful like the American Tova. What should I call this new and improved version of myself, maybe I’ll give it the honor to just be Tova. Right now I feel happy, happy with myself. I’ve found a steady base to build upon - life, Tova is ready for you.
15th of May, 42 days until I return to my old life, 42 days left of living my new life. The first one I got 17 years to build, the second one I’ve only had nine months to build. Do they feel different? Oh yes, but neither is better than the other, they both include happiness and sadness. They both include family, friends, school and sports but still nothing is the same. The completely different people and personal values is what separates the two the most. That’s what made me feel like I was two different persons. Just like you can’t treat everybody the same, you’re naturally not going to behave the same way around everyone. I learned that the hard way, that behavior difference didn’t mean I wasn’t myself, it just made me human, and it’s for the better. What if I wouldn’t have adjusted to my new culture? If I hadn’t adjusted the way I live and learn, I would never have been able to build a prefilled life as the one have in only nine months, a life that took me 17 years to build in Sweden. This year long journey that I’m on is so much more than just a journey, it’s a learning opportunity I’ll never get again. A year where I have learned more then in my whole life. I don’t think anyone could argue that what I’ve gone through this past year, in joy and tears, is personal development at it’s finest and most efficient stage.