The Last Week
I’ve been back in America for just over a week now, but during my last week in Santiago, I didn’t have the time or energy to blog. So I’m a bit behind!
The last week in Santiago was a whirlwind of emotions, “lasts,” and goodbyes. Within the group, we never knew if we were going to see each other again, so we never said goodbye, just “see ya later.” The last time I saw most of the group was at a goodbye/surprise birthday lunch that our IFSA program staff put together for us. It was so surreal. It definitely didn’t feel as if this would be my last time lunching and joking with this group of students. We had a memorable lunch and then hesitated to say goodbye. “I’ll see you later.” we said, making plans that never came to fruition. We decided it was better that way. None of us wanted to schedule a goodbye. None of us wanted to believe it was goodbye. It was better to draw it out, hoping to chance into each other again than go through multiple tearful goodbyes.
Other than that, we had to make sure we said proper goodbyes to everyone else we’d been lucky enough to meet and form friendships with throughout the semester. Everyone’s tactic differed, and that’s ok. Everyone says goodbye differently. As long as everyone managed their goodbye, that was good enough.
I personally tried to say goodbye to my friends and get most of my “lasts” out of the way during the week, leaving the weekend as family time. This worked out, mainly because most of my Chilean friends left for vacation by Wednesday, leaving me to deal with having said goodbye to them, do my exploring, and then spend some time with my family.
I didn’t get all of my lasts in, mainly because there was a strike that closed down all of the parks and museums the day that I tried to go to them, but I wasn’t upset about it. I spent a nice morning walking around with a friend and decided that I wasn’t meant to do the tourist things my last week in Santiago. If I hadn’t done them yet, it wasn’t worth stressing myself out about them. After that, I focused on revisiting parks and other places I’d frequented throughout the semester. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the life I’d built for myself that semester, but for me it was time to close the chapter and move on.
My host family and I said our goodbyes with smiles on our faces. I don’t know if my host mom and I cried after I left. I suspect she did, I know I did. I was glad that we smiled at each other as we left. It made leaving much easier.
It was time for me to go home, and we all knew it. My real family was waiting for me a continent away.