It’s still hard to believe my time in Argentina has come to an end. I’ve been back in the United States for four days. While the friends I made in Argentina are still very close to my heart, it’s bizarre how far I am from Argentina and what I’ve known for the past four months. My last week in Argentina, my fiancé came to visit me and we traveled back to the United States together. He was able to come with me to Fundamind and to Colegio San Tarcisio to meet my students and see what I’ve been doing in Argentina. Experiences abroad are nearly impossible to explain, and that’s frustrating because those experiences are so formative. I wish everyone could understand what I experienced, but I’m eternally grateful that my father, mother, and my fiancé were able to visit while I was in Argentina and see everything first hand.
The hardest part about leaving was saying goodbye to my host family, friends, and students. Argentina is a complicated and challenging place to live. I was relieved to come back to the comforts of the United States, but leaving behind some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had was very painful. My last night in Argentina, my host family gave me a “last dinner” and surprised me by celebrating my 22nd birthday early. They bought pizza, a cake, candles, and champagne to toast to my year ahead. When I arrived in Argentina, I never imagined that my host family would really become my family, but they did.
Saying goodbye to my 7th grade class at Colegio San Tarcisio was bittersweet. Though they are a wild bunch, I grew to love each of them very much. I have great hope that I may see my host family again – in fact, my “host dad” Jose already has a trip planned to the United States for 2015. Yet it was strange to realize that I may never see any of my 7th graders again. They’ve got their entire lives ahead, and I wish I could know where they will each end up. There are a few girls that I know I will stay in contact with, but like I said, it is strange to try to process the reality of the situation.
While I’ve officially left Buenos Aires and am back in the States, I still have much more to process. Buenos Aires and the people there challenged me but changed me for the better, and I am eternally grateful for this experience. In the next week I will be summarizing my volunteer work, but for now, it seemed most important to focus on the way the people I met in Buenos Aires will always stay in my heart.