After a week being back, I think it’s about time for some reflections on what it meant to be abroad, and what I’ve taken away from it. I’m really happy to be back, but it’s just been almost a culture shock of sorts being back in California, and back at my true home (for now, at least).

Of course, my parents wouldn’t say that Caltech is my home, but I think that may be one of the first things I realized when I was abroad; when people ask me where I’m from I’d always say that I was born in Denver and I live in Los Angeles. In a lot of ways, bit by bit, I’ve become more and more of a Los Angeles convert. Still a Colorado native at heart, but a Los Angeles native. I really do love Los Angeles. When I stepped off the plane in Burbank flying in I remembered a bit of that. The rolling hills, warm air, and palm trees. It is its own kind of magic.

I’ll be honest, I miss Singapore. I miss waking up knowing that one of the best roast duck plates I’ve ever had is a 2-minute walk and $3 away. I miss fencing in the suffocating humidity, and even taking the bus to work every single morning. Singapore in a lot of ways felt like a place I truly belonged, an Asian country with a huge British influence, just like how I’m an Asian person with a large amount of American influence.

I miss Scotland too, but a little bit less so. I don’t think I connected to Scotland quite as much as I did to Singapore. It was scold, for one, and as I’m sure y’all readers have figured out, I can’t really deal with cold weather. I really do miss all my friends though. I miss the late evenings out with Justin, the lack of homework, the constant, nonstop travelling. It was a great time being abroad, and it feels almost wrong to be stagnant in one location for the rest of the year.

And my takeaway from all of this is that I can find those same things back here at Tech too. I can take a weekend and go down to San Diego or camping in the mountains. I can hunt for that cheap and delicious roast duck.

So that’s my takeaway. Life doesn’t need to change, but instead expand from all of the experiences that you live through. Take those same life lessons and apply them to your daily life.

Think deep and learn, –Chandrew