Lost between two worlds

Columns | Bojana Simeunovic | March 2010

I was somewhere between the two worlds, between familiarity and novelty, between the old, which I had to forget for a while, and the new I was about to explore. I was somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean on my way to the United States, for a nine-month stay.

I had left my family in tears at the airport, a boyfriend, and a best friend awaiting my return. It didn’t seem that long at the beginning. But after five months, it seemed I had never had a boyfriend, and my best friend had become just another virtual pen pal on "Facebook". In the family, it seemed like nothing would be the same upon my return.

Finally, it was over. It had been painful, a little bit devastating, and fully worthwhile. Now it was time to go back and face the reality. I knew people who surrounded me before would have changed, and I must admit I was afraid to face them, to face the difference in them. It would have been much easier if we had lived through those changes together. I had just had to adjust to American standards and Americans’ attitudes, and now I would have to relearn my own countries’ ways.

The plane landed. I took my baggage and entered the waiting area deciding to whom to run to first, for a warm embrace. While observing so many smiling people huddled together, I saw no familiar face around; not a single person was waiting for me. I called my parents only to find out that they were on their way, and sorry to be late. Sorry…? Not strong enough of an excuse compared to both my astonishment and disappointment that no one could make it on time to welcome me. I sat aside and thought: "That’s life, deal with it."

It didn’t take long, though, until I realized that it had all been a plan for a surprise party. Both anger and disappointment vanished at the instant. My best friends, my relatives, my boyfriend – a reunion with joyful tears, endless hugging, millions of questions… I did miss all of them, and that night it seemed like everything was falling back into place again.

The next day, however, I lost my boyfriend and got in a horrible fight with my sister. It was my fault, my stupidity to rush and try to have all of it back so quickly. I wanted to make up for the nine lost months, sum them up in a single conversation. I was selfish and not ready to accept their change, their being different now. I lived in the past, and needed four long months to figure that out…My sister was and will always be around; my boyfriend I had lost forever. From time to time, I simply want to go back to my home in the US, to the family and everything American that I had been complaining about all the time.

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