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One year ago today, I boarded a plane bound for a new home. I was sad, I was nervous, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. But through it all, I was excited.

Through the hard times (aka Winter ;) and the good times, I took it all in.

When I look back at the person I was a year ago, I am proud of who I was – I was young, graduated, smart, handsome, and thirsty for new experiences.

But I think if the man I was could meet the man I’ve become, he would be even prouder.

I’ve grown a lot as a person here in Belgium. I’ve proven to myself that I can start anew and still find amazing groups of friends and find happiness. It wasn’t easy at all times, no – it was extremely difficult at times. ¬†But if it weren’t for the struggles I’ve been through in life, I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today.

I used to take a lot for granted, and I still do, I know. I always used to think certain things would make me happy: having a significant other, losing weight, graduating, moving, a new computer, a new camera….and back home, I did everything I could to get those things. I lost 60+ lbs, and I had an amazing boyfriend for almost a year, I graduated – I did all of the things I THOUGHT would make me happy. Then I moved, got that change of scenery I was so sure I needed. And I did need it, but through it all I never felt truly happy. Until finally, one day a few months ago after watching weeks worth of Arrested Development and 30 Rock marathons to make me feel better, I knew I had to change something.

Now more than ever, I can honestly say I’m very happy. And I would’ve never thought I could be with my current circumstances – I’ve gained all of my weight back, I’ve been single for over a year now, I’ve got more school work piled up than ever before, I’ve got no definite plans for after graduation, I’ve got a limited income and no job, and my stress levels are up to *here*!

But It’s the small things.

It’s waking up and liking the way your bed-hair looks.

It’s dressing for the day and going outside and realizing you ¬†unknowingly chose the perfect outfit for the temperature.

It’s getting a little plastic sword in your cocktail.

It’s having a friend laugh at your sarcastic joke.

It’s recovering gracefully after tripping on a cobblestone.

It’s being surprised by some random act of kindness.

It’s having someone tell you that you’re an amazing person, for no other reason than being yourself.


It took my traveling 5000 miles away from where I grew up to realize that “home” is what you make of it. I was 5000 miles away as my definition of “home” fell apart – my friends were graduating, getting married, moving away, the city was changing without me…I couldn’t return “home” if I wanted to – it no longer exists. And that is when my life view changed.

My home has become wherever I am loved; and in this way, one can never be homesick.


So on this one year anniversary of my life in Belgium, I thank all of my family and friends – here and in the US and around the world. If there’s ever been a question in your mind whether I am happy – wonder no more. I am. Thanks to you.

I wish you all nothing but the best in life, as that is what y’all have given me.


With the greatest of love,


– Ross

“If you wake up and don’t want to smile
If it takes just a little while
Open your eyes and look at the day
You’ll see things in a different way”



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