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Column: The journey home


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Time flies, and so will my airplane back to America, in less than 25 days.

At first, when I realized I had about 60-something days left, I was only excited. Excited to see my family, to hold my baby brother, to eat American breakfast. But as the time goes quicker and quicker and the weeks start to tick off like hours, I’m feeling something I haven’t felt in about a year.

Anxiety to leave home.

Because while Malaysia isn’t what I’ve been raised to know, nor is it MY culture, it is home in a strange kind of way that only a traveler or exchange student knows.

It is where a part of my heart will forever remain, and you know what they say: “Home is where the heart is.” I’ve made problems, solved them. I’ve made friends, loved them. I’ve joined a family, cherished them. I’ve done so many irreplaceable things that have taken such a part of me, that in a way ... Malaysia will always be my home.

And of course while I’m anxious, I am excited.

Basically, I’m a blended ball of confusion right now ... because how can you say you’re excited to leave your family and friends to go be with your family and friends?

I’m sorry this blog post is so short, but I just wanted to check in and say I’m coming home soon.

Being an exchange student is strange and indescribable. And I think that’s just the conclusion we all come to in the end. Hopefully I can write once more before I return, but if not, thank you so much for following these until the end.

With much love.

Courtlyn Heaberlin is a 16-year-old Whiteland Community High School student who traveled in July to Malaysia for a 10-month cultural immersion program. Her occasional column is excerpted from her blog. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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