Monday, 9 July 2012

The Returner

By Zenobia Wollenschlaeger

Looking back on my first season, there are so many things that run through my mind. I can remember sitting at the first presentation wondering how long the process would take and what it would involve – nearly a year later, having already returned from my first season I cannot believe that it is over.
Being what I like to call ‘a family girl’ I was somewhat hesitant about flying half way across the world and being so far away from everyone back home. When I was initially offered my position I was so excited, I thought I was ready to jump on a plane and leave right away. However, I soon discovered (while packing) that perhaps the leaving part wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

After the airport goodbyes and understandable tears, I got onto the plane for a very long flight. I guess I only grasped the reality of the situation when I landed at JFK in New York and got my first glimpse at the American Lifestyle where bigger and better seemed to me like an understatement.
After moving into my apartment and starting work, it took me little to no time to adjust. You meet the most amazing people and make life-long friends (no clich├ęs here). Christmas and New Years are not as bad as I originally thought they would be and turkey at Thanksgiving made a great substitute for my mom’s roast chicken at Christmas.

I wish I could explain exactly how much you grow and learn while you are away from home and on this program. I cannot describe the places I saw and some of the experiences I had, I made memories that I would never have made anywhere else and that is what I remember now.
Sitting in that first presentation, listening to the returners talking about their experiences I remember saying to my friends and family: “that will NEVER be me”.
I am finishing off my final year at college and I had such an amazing experience!

I – the RETURNER now eagerly await my next cup of Starbucks and seeing my ‘newly adopted’ Workaway family again.

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