When I was preparing to go abroad a few months ago, I read a lot about how coming back to your home country can cause a flood of emotions, and they were certainly right.

My journey home started with a string of 3 flights to get home, from Porto to Amsterdam to Atlanta to Nashville. I dreaded the long journey that I knew to be so tiresome from the one only 3 weeks before, but I was excited to get home and see my friends and family. About halfway through my second flight (a 10 hour flight), I began to get antsy and was ready to be done traveling. I held onto the thought that I would soon be home and my journey was over halfway over. It would be only a few more hours until I got home to eat my favorite dinner with my mom. Once I arrived in Atlanta, the nightmare began. My flight got delayed for an hour, then another hour, and another, and another until it eventually got canceled around midnight. I was so frustrated and upset that I couldn’t just hurry up and get home to my mom and dog and get my favorite food. I got a hotel for the night and booked a flight for the next morning at 6am and tried to get some sleep. My alarm went off a few hours after falling asleep, and I woke up to an email canceling yet another flight. I felt devastated. Trapped. Alone. Scared. Eventually, I got home by late afternoon that day. As it turns out, I am not great in travel chaos situations.

The primary reason for including my travel anecdote was to explain that my excitement to come home was entirely drained. I drove back to Tuscaloosa early the following morning and even cried on the way back. I thought I would be teeming with excitement to see my friends and roommates but I was just tired. I also knew I was coming back to work 12 hour shifts for the next 10 days straight to prepare for move-ins at my job and I was dreading it. I wished I was back in Portugal where I could just explore and have fun without the monotonous routine of my daily life in America. I got home and had to hit the ground running. I was burnt out from the travel alone and today is my first day with a break since then.

I found myself missing my friends from Portugal and the weather and even the food. I missed my apartment there and the way people walk everywhere there. I missed not having to worry about the responsibilities I have here. I missed everything about Portugal and was EXHAUSTED back in the States.

As I have begun winding down this weekend, I am finally starting to feel at home again. I’ll finally have time to fully unpack and clean my room and get groceries. For this, I am excited. I’m finally starting to get back in the groove and settle back into my home in Tuscaloosa. Not sure I’ll ever stop missing Porto, though.