When your old life does not feel like yours

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand — there is no going back?” – Frodo

Bryce Canyon © Melissa Callaert

Two weeks ago I returned to the country that I call home. My adventure is officially over and I can not believe how fast time went by. It feels like the last five months were just a dream and I’m about to wake up very soon. I did not dream it, it happened. And today, I’m back home where home does not feel like home anymore.

When I arrived at the airport of Brussels, I was nervous. After being awake for nine hours, I felt excited to see my bed. I was excited to hug my sister and my grandma. All of us with tears in our eyes. Hugging like this was our final goodbye. We stopped at a bakery where I bought the delicious food that I missed when I was in the states. I was happy. A big surprise was waiting for me at home. When I was gone, my family redecorated my room. And for all those who wonder, yes I do like it. But it is hard to return to a room that you do not know. So I couldn’t sleep well, which I also  blame on the jet lag. In the evening, after seeing all my family, I felt like crying.

Days went by, and I smiled. But deep inside of me, I am hurt. I am not the same girl that I was before I left. People around me are happy to have me back, but they do not understand how much I miss my life in the states. I hear people talk around me and they ask me how it was, but I am not ready to answer the question. It was amazing. But the tears are running when I talk about my life there. I miss my mom and my dad and I miss my wonderful friends. I miss taco nights with Lauren and Katie and I miss seeing the beauty around me.

Being back home means getting used to the changes that happened when I was gone. One of those things is the sad passing away of my dog. Every morning I wake up, ready to greet him, until I realize that he is no longer in my life. My country is also still healing from the attacks in March and the same time there are strikes going on. Trains do not roll, post does not get delivered. People tell me all the time: “Someday,  you’ll go back.” But coming back will never be the same. Also, how do you adjust to a life full of changes? How do you feel happy when sad things happened when you’re gone? I know I have to be lucky for the chance that I got, but that does not change things in my life.

I also graduated so I have to find a job and become an adult. I have to find my own path in life, which is very stressful. I know time will help me to become less homesick for the U.S., but for now I just need time to adjust to a life that does not feel like mine anymore. And someday, I’ll be back in the United States, because my American dream is not done yet. There are so many beautiful places that I still have to discover. So I don’t say farewell, but see you soon.

With love,


Melissa Callaert spent the spring semester working as an intern at North Country Public Radio and living with a host family in Ogdensburg. She toured the nation for a while before returning home to Belgium. We miss her, too. –Dale Hobson, NCPR

3 Comments on “When your old life does not feel like yours”

  1. Jon Montan says:


    Thank you for sharing your talents – and yourself – with us here in the North Country.
    May your dreams come true.
    Meanwhile, savor each day on this little planet on which we are all connected.

  2. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Very sorry for the loss of your dog.

  3. Ellen Rocco says:

    Oh, Melissa, I know you’ll be back here! It was wonderful having you as part of the NCPR family. Keep us posted on your next adventure and next job. And send photos!!!!

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