My first night home was very surreal; I felt like I was walking through a dream. Familiar faces, well known spaces, it felt the same but I was different. It was also hot and for the next month I complained about the heat at every chance I got. Scandinavian summers stay in the high sixties to low seventies and I was sweating on an average Minnesotan day. The next thing that got to me was the food, everything was too salty or too sweet. I couldn't even drink a glass of lemonade without having to water it down. After that I struggled with smell. I have confirmed this with other rebounds and America smells. Its not a bad smell, its just that there is a smell and everything smells. Lastly, everything was so big. My mom took me shopping at the Burnsville Mall and I felt like I was having an anxiety attack. There were so many people and so many stores, it was too much to handle. I was actually scared to go into a Walmart for the first time. But it isn't all bad; I can drive again, I get free water at restaurants, I am not getting taxed through the nose, we have air conditioning. Its nice sometimes.
Coming back emotionally has not been as easy as finding less salty alternatives. I was told over and over and over again that when you come back you're different but everything else is the same. I brushed it off like it would be a piece of cake but its not. My reactions, my ideals, my political standing, my views of religion, basically everything has changed. I have gotten in fights with my mom over the size of our military. I have taken a huge interest in social welfare on a national and global level and I have worked harder this summer than I have in my entire life, but this is so I can buy my return ticket. Another thing that I am struggling with is the lack of people that want to hear about Denmark. With my family, they are always interested and always listen to my stories, but my friends now shut me down every time I mention anything regarding Denmark. I had one friend fall asleep while I was showing them pictures. For me, having people react like this undermines my year and has made it harder to come home. Lastly, I struggle with the confusion in my emotions. I don't understand what I am feeling and trying to put it into words comes out completely scattered. There is a lot of confusion in this. Part of me feels like I am simply waiting until I can leave again and the other part just feels down. There are times when I'll break out crying but I couldn't tell you why. When I got pulled over (didn't get a ticket) I came home bawling saying "this wouldn't have happened in Denmark." The coming home struggle is no where near over but I am learning to deal with it. I am learning to take a step back in certain situations and figure out what is it that is really upsetting me. I am learning to only mention Denmark if it is extremely relevant. I am learning how to live a multicultural life.
I move into the dorms on Monday and it is starting to feel like the cliche "one door closes another door opens." While I am moving on to a new chapter in my life, I will never forget Denmark. My memories and experiences will follow me wherever I go for the rest of my life, whether that be hanging my Danish flag in my dorm room or the simplicity of a memory.