I went back to visit my host family later, while being student of one of the most liberal colleges in America. It’s interesting how perspective changes when you go back and look at the places you’ve lived in, compare it to your present life and see the changes that took place within. Because when I was 16, I felt very comfortable in American high school, following the rules of that given society (and trust me, there were lot of rules, from omnipresent dress code and to no tea or coffee) and later, I complete re-evaluated my attitudes towards politics, popularity, people, human rights, sex, drugs, everything.
As much as I think I’ve retained my core inner self-- I still value friendship, romance, humor, I like big crowds, new people and new places--intellectually I am a completely different entity. Look at me now, marching with gays in Tbilisi, pushing for legalization of certain plants, bashing established religion, and look at me 10 years ago, religious, making such a big deal of getting kissed that I dragged it till I was seventeen, too scared to discuss sex, judgmental, just plain tacky, what else? And of course, I had to go to states to first find myself as a good girl Utah high school and then as a rebel in college. Cause nothing in Georgia stimulates one to reflect on own values, understand what do we like, want, believe, we just go with the flow. Or maybe, everything is too familiar.
How do we change so much but still same? Why do people claim that most of our morals are formed during our teenage years, when we grow up and retain almost nothing of that time? And if we do, we look immature and retarded. What are we really, how stable are we and will I be laughing at my current beliefs 10 years from now? Does it mean that everything I stand for now is arbitrary?
Along with all the questions, I was swept with nostalgia. I started thinking about my host family, my host sister, my friends, my first crush and my first boy and I just felt so grateful that I’ve met this people, that they allowed me to be part of their lives, that they supported me when everything seemed so much more important than it was…like will he call me, do I look nice in these jeans, what happens if I say this? Do I fit in, am I unique? Will I go to prom? I mean, do you remember how important it was to go to prom?
Funny huh? Don’t make fun of it though. It hurt then.
When I was seventeen, it was a very good year. It was a very good year of confronting to the society, being overly emotional and constantly establishing myself. But damn it, it was a very good year. And I miss it.
p.s. pic: engaging in what seemed like a very American activity: gathering leaves with my host family.