Friday, June 24, 2011

La Despedida

As my time here comes to an end, I'm thinking about how a year ago I was unsure as to whether or not I should study abroad.  During my college application process I never took into consideration the possibility of studying abroad.  I never thought it would be for me.  And once I got to Michigan, I could barely understand why anyone would want to give up a precious semester of college life to live in another country, possibly in a stranger's home with their family.  But, these four months of studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina has probably been the greatest experience of my life.  Hands down the second best decision I've ever made in my life (the first was choosing Michigan over Emerson).  I've been saying all along how much I love certain foods and places, but it's really just been the entire experience and all the people I've met (especially the people in my program) that made these four months so amazing.

As some of you might know, I hate being/feeling like a tourist.  And one thing I realized the other day as I was walking around the city, running some errands, is that I am not a tourist here; far from it, I like to think.  Just like Ann Arbor, the city of Buenos Aires has become another one of my homes.  I frequent certain places, I know the bus routes, I know my way around the city, I understand and can communicate in the local dialect, etc.

And the people I've met!  Despite what I thought throughout the program, I really made some good friends here that I'm truly going to miss.  Even though we've only been here for four months, I feel like I've known some of these people for way longer.  I feel closer to some of these people than I do to some people I've known for all of college or all of high school.  It's a happy and a sad thing: sad because I might not see these people for a long time or ever again, unfortunately; happy because it makes me realize that there are potential friends and people who I would love all over the world, just waiting for me to meet them.  Also, we all got to share this amazing experience together.  And whether or not everyone loved it as much as I did, we were all in it together, studying, going out, playing soccer, traveling, whatever.  We share this common experience of living and studying in Buenos Aires.  And hopefully --what I think would determine a true friendship, and not just one by circumstace-- we'll stay in touch and continue to be close and have other things in common, and not have to rely on reminiscing about our crazy adventures in Argentina.  So, saying goodbye to all my new friends has been sad, but I know that if we're truly friends we will make the effort to see each other again in the future, and that's what matters.

I keep saying I want to come back here, live and maybe work here for a while, but I know that coming back still won't replicate the experience I've had, living with this family, hanging out with my IES friends.  I love Buenos Aires as a city, but without the right people, it won't be the same.  Instead, it will be an entirely new experience, where I'll meet new people and make more great relationships.  And I look forward to that, not only when I return to Buenos Aires, but in every new adventure I undertake throughout my life.

Chau Buenos Aires, te quiero muchisimo.  Te voy a extrañar, pero nos vemos pronto.  Besitos :)

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