Being back in Boston was hard. Reverse culture shock is real. 12 hour time adjustment also very real. Going from a world of independence to a rigid schedule was an adjustment. BUT, my best friend’s wedding was 100% worth coming back for. An incredibly special weekend.

This past week, I flew back in JFK, NYC on a Thursday night, spent the night with my brother on Staten Island, and the next day met my coworkers in person in Manhattan. I’m glad I made that stop because it tied working with them together for me. There is something to be said for face to face interaction without a screen in between and the visit make me love working there more! The startup culture is really cool.

I then took a bus to Boston which I slept entirely through, and spent the weekend with my cousins and grandma. I was part zombie the whole time, but it was nice to see everyone.

Love that dirty water

Fam fam

Through the week, I worked, visited old coworkers and friends, and geared up for the wedding. Rehearsals, welcome dinner, and the event itself were exhausting but beautiful. I got to spend a lot of time with Alexis, the bride, and her family, probably more so than I have in a while. It was also cool to meet their extended family who I had heard so many stories about over the years.

The ceremony was stunning, and the mansion venue overlooking Narragansett Bay was perfect. Minus the fact that my feet were in so much pain from wearing heels all day, I had a blast chatting, dancing, eating, and drinking the day away. All the bridesmaids gathered at Alexis’ house early for hair and makeup. We then took a non-air-conditioned ride to the church. It was a very traditional Greek orthodox ceremony, complete with crowns being placed on the bride and groom’s heads and them walking laps around the altar. The venue was an hour away, but the wedding party made the most of the ride. Pictures, introductions, first dances, and dinner all went well. The night closed with a loaded dessert room and lots of Greek circle dancing. And of course, the olive oil parting gifts were fitting.

She didn’t forget about me!

Reflections on being home:

– Not everyone gets or cares what I’m doing and why. Most of the conversations I had with people were the same. “What has been your favorite place? What are all the countries you’ve been to? What are you doing for work?” And that’s it. Lost interest or maybe a feeling they can’t relate. Either way, it was challenging walking the line of oversharing and also feeling like dammit, I’ve had some crazy experiences, why don’t people want to hear about them?? Then again, what would I have done before my trip if I was talking to someone who had done RY? I probably wouldn’t know the right questions to ask.

– The Northeast is totally as rude and uptight as people say. I landed in NYC and was taken aback by the cursing, finger throwing, and general lack of awareness of surroundings and others. Even in the suburbs, everything is rush, rush, rush. And I fall into that category too, but other places are noticeably more relaxed.

– Hot water on demand is something I took for granted. It had been a little while since I could have a hot shower at any moment.

– I do not totally fit my family’s expectations of me. Love them to death, but sometimes I didn’t feel understood. I have big aspirations and a vision beyond the monotonous routine of white suburbia. While my dating life and my appearance matter, there’s more to me than that. Also if I let the fears they express about traveling get to me, then I’d miss out on the incredible opportunities I have. Note: I’m overgeneralizing family here, my siblings and others are great! But overall realizing this lifestyle is new territory for women in my family.

-Americans are um, a little stuck in their ways. I was chatting with my stylist at a salon and her reaction to my travels was “wow, your Instagram must be amazing” like whaaaatttttt that’s what you come up with!? She also had no clue where Malaysia was.

– I could have a meaningful conversation with people from other countries! My nail painter at the salon (sorry, got a lot of beautification for wedding) was from Vietnam, and it was refreshing to be able to share little stories back and forth.

– Offices can be remarkably unproductive at times. Granted my visit to the office was on a Friday, I was reminded how much I actually get done remotely. Small talk in the kitchen, group lunches, dogs in the office are all things I’m not a part of abroad. Not to say I don’t have some of that on my own with Pareans, but when I’m working, I’m working and focused.

– Y’all, my best friend is MARRIED!!! We went from playing dress up and making fake families to actually dressing up and starting real families. It was such an honor to be a part of, and standing at the altar watching her glow was something I’ll never forget.

Overall, I did have a good visit. My parents were supportive and guided me through, and I am sufficiently filled up on gluten free yummies. That being said, this week reaffirmed that I’m on the right path for me. I LOVE what I’m doing and know I’m strong enough to continue working through challenges. Super excited for the next 4 months in South America!

Parea, I’m coming back for you! And this time with more confidence and a greater appreciation.

Some shots from the wedding: