It’s an odd feeling leaving a place for the last time.

It’s exhilarating  and wonderful and everything you’d ever think it to be, but nostalgia completely takes over you. I arrived at PHX airport at 5am and I watched the sun rise and cast a glorious rainbow of pastel colors over South mountain. For the last time. It’s not arizona that I will miss, nor the scenery, and especially not the heat. In fact, I won’t miss anything about arizona, but it’s the feeling that it’s over and that chapter of my life is over is what leaves me feeling sick. I spent a quarter of my life being a naive child. And now here I am, realizing I did all I could in the time I had here and I’m leaving with no regrets, just a sense of disbelief.

The absolute hardest part about leaving was saying goodbye to my dad. I lived with him and him alone for 22 years, he was my best friend and my mentor and supported every decision I’ve ever made, and leaving just didn’t feel right. I know this is a normal feeling for everyone once they move out for the first time, but to think, Im going from seeing him every damn day to once a year.

But even harder than saying goodbye to him was watching him say bye to me. He’s going to go through a really hard time trying to deal with empty nest syndrome. On one hand he’s excited for my new life, and on the other he’s going to be completely overcome with loneliness. Because of that, I am going to be constantly worried about him.

On the same level of sadness, I had to say goodbye to my dogs. For the last time. My little baby that I raised for 6 years has no idea that this time was a final time. I travel a lot and she’s used to seeing my back in a few weeks, so she’s probably anticipating my return. But that day will never come. How do you deal with that?

I’ve always wanted to live the expatriate life, but I didn’t realize how tough these goodbyes were.

I wasn’t sad about leaving friends because I have friends around the globe and I know I will see my best friends again in a foreign country. Unlike my puppy who won’t traverse the world to visit me in korea.

But hey, with sadness comes a whirlwind of other emotions and I know that if this is the hardest part, then everything else will be easy in comparison.

It was a long time coming, but I’m finally free from the monotony of America, although this newfound freedom is inseparable from the feeling of emptiness.

With time, the emptiness will be filled with hobbies and clubs and activities and friends. But until then, there will be a weird feeling of not being fully there.

This note was not meant to sound depressing, as I could not be more excited for this new life. Right now it just feels weird flying out of American territory and into a parallel universe. It won’t be anywhere near bad, but it will be different.

Here’s to the next several years spent thriving back in the first place I ever felt at home. My true home. South Korea.

Welcome home Megan. You finally made it.