Yesterday, I was sitting in the teachers' lounge as my friend Selena got the news that her family dog passed away. The dog wasn't sick, just old, and despite her age, her death was still unexpected. My heart went out to Selena, as I know how much she adores her family, dogs included.
This got me thinking about a question a student asked me a few months back- “Teacher, what is the hardest part about being away from home?” At the time, I answered quickly with some generic answer about missing friends and family. In truth, I thought it was a good question, one I hadn't thought of myself and honestly, I didn't really know the answer back then. Now, however, despite the fact that I'm not home yet, I think I'm starting to realize what's been the hardest part about being away from home...
… it's the missing out.
Now, let me just say that there are few things I'd trade this experience for and as I am starting to get retrospective about all of it, I'm in awe of how much has been crammed in to half a year. So yeah, no regrets at all. Still, part of being away from home is missing home and missing out.
As I've caught up with people back home and been asking about what to expect, it turns out that I'm not returning to things the way I left them. Duh, right? Right. My loved ones are still healthy and happy...I think (knock on wood) and I don't have a dog, so...no need to worry about that. But, some things have changed- good and bad...and sad. When I left, I ran over the fact that things would indeed change over and over in my head...but over time, when things don't change immediately and time passes in a way it's never passed before, it's easy to convince oneself that maybe it won't be so different and maybe, juuuuust maybe, I'll get to be the luckiest girl in the world- living in two different, spectacular countries, making new friends, realizing new capabilities and then, at the end of it, coming home to things the way I left them. It's foolish to think that I'd get everything I'd want this year, but it's been hard not to have certain expectations and wishes upon returning home. I still am returning home to a beautiful life, I think I just got a little greedy in the “hope” department.
So yeah, this is getting real. It's kinda trippy to think about sitting by a fire in Mount Prospect in 17 days. I'm currently sitting on my roof in shorts and a hoodie, surrounded by the Andes. (Yeah, I really shouldn't complain about much these days, huh?) I look forward to home, yet I'll miss this terribly, just as I loved this but at times, missed home. All in all, I need to realize that the next step is just another one in the whole scheme of it and it's sure to hold unexpected gems of its own.
And lest we not forget, I've changed too.