Notes from Abroad by Tabatha Pilon – Changes From Within As A Year Passes By – December 4, 2011

Notes from Abroad by Tabatha Pilon – Changes From Within As A Year Passes By – December 4, 2011
CFN – At the prospect of leaving your home, you don’t really think about how much you are going to miss your family; your friends; your life.   When I think back to who I was before I boarded that plane, I get distorted images. I get distorted memories. I get a distorted version of my life.  Even though it has only been about four months since the day I left behind my old life, those four months have passed by in an extremely long and an extremely short way.
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As we enter into the month of December, I realize exactly how short my time here is. Even though I know that I still have eight months remaining in my exchange, if I think about how fast my first four months have gone, then I know that these next eight months are going to go by a lot faster than what I had originally expected to happen.  But in that same aspect, these four months have also gone by really slow. For every day that I miss my family and my friends, I realize how long it has been since I had last seen them; how long since I’ve spoken to some; how long it will be until I come face to face with them again.
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Exchanges are supposed to be not only an exciting adventure in a youth’s life, but also an amazing life changing experience. And I can feel that; the “life changing” is happening. I’m not the same person that I was when I boarded that plane. I’m now a person with more confidence; a person who can admit to her mistakes; a person who is more independent: I am a different person.   I wonder if, when I go back to Canada, if the things that i’ve always loved; the people I’ve always loved, if they will be the same to me?   Change is always a scary thing because if you were happy before things changed, then you wouldn’t want them to change. It would be scary. Even though it is 8 months into the future, I’m scared to think of my return to Canada, because I know that nothing will ever be the same. My entire outlook on life will be changed, as I can already start to feel it change.Over the past month, with the recent change of families in my life, I have come to realize that not all change is scary. I’m used to change, I know, but sometimes it’s nerve-wracking to think of some change that you know is inevitable and is lurking in the future.  As I realize that the future change will be scary, I also realize that it will be a blessing. Being a new person; being reinvented is a nice experience. Sometimes it isn’t for the best with some people, but with me, I know that this is one of the best things that could happen to me.  Despite the fact that I miss everyone of my friends and family, back in Canada, I’m reassured with the fact that one day, I will rejoin them; I will be able to re-experience a lot of the things that I have as I grew up among, with a different mindset.
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I will be able to have all the things that I have taken for granted my entire life, and appreciate them. Like Tim Horton’s. And Riley’s Bakery. And that exciting feeling on Christmas morning, where even as a teenager you run around waking people up, most likely too early to be acceptable on a day with no school or work, but exciting nonetheless. And I will be able to re-experience the smooth driving of automatic vehicles; the drywall walls in houses; the doorknobs instead of doorhandles.   But then again, there are also a some things about Denmark that I will miss like crazy as well. Like being able to just leave my house, and go for a walk through the forest bordering our neighbourhood, and visiting the cows up the way. Watching them run over when we over them grass from the “outside world”.
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Or, like, when taking the bus, you don’t have to interact with the bus driver because you exit in the middle of the bus and are trusted to pay at a self-serve machine nestled in the middle of the bus. Or, like, the little unmanned potato and other vegetable stands that you can find to buy some fresh vegetables. I think one of the things that I will miss the most about Denmark is how safe it is. How trusted it is. How I can finally understand why Denmark is the happiest country in the world.   Even though it’s eight months away, I know with a certain knowledge that these next eight months will be over before I know it.
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And this is an exciting moment in which I can embrace life; embrace the experiences thrown my way; embrace my family and friends. This is the time where I will be able to re-create myself. Where I will turn into a completely new person, one that people I have known my entire life will hardly recognize, but for the most part will enjoy the new Tabatha.
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Tabatha Pilon is a 17 year old student from Cornwall Ontario spending a year in Denmark.   She will be writing to us  each week or as her “gymnasium” schedule allows.  If you have questions for her or would like to sponsor her column email us at info@cornwallfreenews.com

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