The Final Countdown
It’s crazy. We only have 6 weeks left here. Six weeks into the program, we were just settling in. We had our families, most of us had our class schedules, we were still getting lost whenever we tried to go somewhere new (what do I know, some of us may still be doing that). Now, we’re settled in. We’ve made some Chilean friends, we speak using “Chilenismos,” we’re starting to know the people and the places. We’re beginning to understand Chile.
When I think about leaving, I become very torn. I’ve been abroad for a year, and while I did get to spend 20 days at home in between my programs, those 20 days flew by. I miss my loved ones, I miss being able to do everything for myself, I miss salads. At the same time, I don’t want to leave. I’ve become comfortable here. Sometimes, I don’t realize I’m speaking Spanish instead of English. I’ve started doing things with my Chilean friends outside of class. I’ve adjusted to not having central heating. I want to see my loved ones, but I’m starting to establish my own life here. This is what I was warned about happening. A semester abroad gives you enough time to adjust, become proficient in the language, and start to form some roots, and then you go home.
Not only does going home mean taking me away from the new friendships I’m beginning to form, but it also means that my year-long adventure will be over.
Going back to my routine in America is no longer appetizing. I don’t want my adventure to end.
Sure, I’ll be able to have adventures after this experience, but it will no longer be acceptable to take off for some foreign place for the weekend. When you’re a student abroad, you’re expected to see all there is to see. Do your homework, do well in school, but the experience is more than just your schoolwork. Get out there and enjoy the culture. We know American culture, we’re not supposed to take off for the weekend to see the famous city we’ve never seen, and probably will never see.
But why can’t I do that in America too? Of course I need to get my work done, but why can’t I take off to explore America when I get back? What’s stopping me other than the feeling that I’ll eventually see “that” one day? It’s hitting me how much of not only the world, but of my own country, I still have to see.
Leaving Chile does not mean my adventure has to end here. In fact, I know my adventure won’t end here. I’ll get home, work hard like I always do, and find new adventures in my spare time. If anything my experience abroad is teaching my to seize opportunities and make the most of them.
This experience abroad is not over yet, and I still have so much to do. School has picked up, I’ve made Chilean friends, and I still have things I want to see. I need to make the most of my remaining time here, and find a way to share these experiences when I return.
I don’t think this will be my only time in Chile.
I know that this will not be my last adventure.
Chao for now!