One of the hardest things about being away is not being able to come home under any circumstances. It’s just not plausible. I often think about the unspeakable things that might happen and how I think I would handle the different scenarios but then I try and snap back to the present. What will be will be. Unfortunately one of the scenarios has become a reality. This past week a friend of mine passed away and I would have really liked to be there to share my memories, say goodbye and to support his brother who is also a good friend. I sometimes think I understand how temporary life is, but then it flips me on my head again. It moves quickly; it doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. That was part of the reason I came here in the first place. I thought, if I don’t go now, when would I go? What am I waiting for? Six months in the scheme of things is a blink of an eye. It only feels like an eternity when you aren’t able to be around when you need others or vise-versa. Being away really made me realize the powerful connections I have with my friends and family. Those connections have made me feel emotions I haven’t ever felt in the past. Deep sadness and longing when I’m not there for comfort and support, a weird form of excitement mixed with friendly jealousy when I know others are having the time of their lives without me and extreme happiness knowing how much I truly love those that understand me. I know I’m going to be feeling that happiness/envious/jealousy mix of emotions over the holidays. If you know my family, you know that every single individual is the bomb. There’s no dud or brat or annoying one, every single person is awesome. Usually when one Schu makes a friend that friend soon becomes friends with every member of the Schu family. Anyway, I thought I knew how much I appreciated my family and friends before, but this trip gave me a whole new understanding of how much I love and need them. I’m finding it really hard to explain right now, but there’s a feeling I get way down in my gut and my then heart feels like it’s overflowing and I can’t stop smiling when I think of them. I’m serious. If you’ve never felt this, go away for awhile, and if you still don’t feel it, find some new friends that are on your level.