Because the roles are reversed and I’m crying for you. The truth is, I am leaving you SO soon. So here we are. At last. After months and months of tears, stress, pure joy, challenges, highs, lows, and in-betweens, it is my last day in Argentina.
I never imagined this day would come. I mean to say, I wanted to come here my entire life, and I never imagined that not only would it happen, but that I would have to say goodbye to this amazing country. Studying abroad has certainly been one of the most challenging experiences in my entire life. After spending so much time in Argentina, there is no doubt that I share strong feelings towards this country.
Although there are plenty of things that I will not miss (piropos, being on a stuffy subway, traffic, the annoying sidewalks that squirt water on you out of nowhere), there are so many more that I will long for every day (kioscos, bakeries with an endless amount of cakes and desserts, the amazing ice cream, my host family, my friends here, my room, my house, my favorite tostadas that my host mom makes, with honey and cheese).
My last few days here have been a constant flow of emotions. At any given moment, the tears begin (at lunch with my friends, alone in my room, on a tour of the Casa Rosada – oh yes, it happened). Anything can trigger my overactive tear ducts. I already feel an aching pain in my heart where Argentina has its own special place. Even though I am a United States citizen, I feel like Argentina is my patria. And the learning has just begun. There are so many more aspects of the culture I want to learn. Although I am raving about Argentina, I must be honest with myself and admit that this experience has not been as “phenomenal” and “happy” as I may have, at times, made it out to be. There were times during this semester when I hated being here and wanted nothing more than to be at Elon. But regardless of that, even at my lowest moments, I still knew that this was the most awesome experiences that I would ever have – and by awesome, I literally mean full of awe.
Although I am looking forward to having good American Chinese food, sleeping in my big bed, and being able to get good rest without the sounds of my neighbors and the city disturbing me, the roller coaster of emotions will not end when we touch land in the United States. I know that this journey is not over – I have a long road of re-entry shock, tears, and silent moments ahead of me. I can only hope that my friends and family back home will be as supportive as my friends and family here have been as I go through more changes and challenges being back home.
As my host mom said to me this morning, “La separación de la familia nos agranda; no nos divide.” Separation makes families bigger; it does not divide us. Mónica gave me the wise information that I now had yet another home in another country. And even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry until the moment I say goodbye to my family, I have a strange feeling that there may be an afternoon of tears in front of me. Luckily, I have the promise of ice cream awaiting me as the last Argentine thing that I eat here.
Mi Buenos Aires querido. You’ve been so good to me. Gracias por las memorias, las experiencias, las oportunidades que me has dado. Por el acento, el ruído, la cumbia, y la historia. Gracias, Argentina, por los paisajes, Mendoza, Iguazú, Bariloche, y Jujuy. Gracias, Uruguay, por dejarme visitarte. I cannot imagine myself without this experience under my belt, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will be back here someday, very soon.
Thank you to all of you who have followed my experiences throughout this amazing and crazy adventure! Thank you for those of you who have been a great support system, even from so far away. There are still photos that need to go up, so expect a few more updates in the next week, as well as a follow-up blog about my reflection on being back home. Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times over. For reading, for supporting, for following, and for loving.