The Things We Leave Back

christina zogopoulou headshot
Christina Zogopoulou
June 28, 2024

The other day one of my friends talked about a conversation with his taxi driver who, on his way back,  told him “que dejas en Argentina?” (what will you leave in Argentina?) My friend, confused at first, asked what he meant. The taxi driver explained that he was referring to the things that changed in him that he would not carry with him after traveling back to his home country. And that made me think. Many times, we think about what we take from an experience, but not what we leave back, what parts of ourselves “die” or change during the process. 

I then started thinking: what will I leave? What part of myself is no longer with me? To be honest, my study abroad in Argentina was the most transformative of my life. If you have not read another blog of mine, I have already lived abroad two more times, but none seemed to have such an impact on me. This one came at the right time, when I needed it the most. 

As students in the U.S., we have forgotten about many things, such as thinking outside of ourselves, caring about other people, not being in constant stress and anxiety but rather being present. So what of these will I leave back? 

When I went to Brazil, during spring break, I was enjoying a very traditional and delicious meal in a park in Rio de Janeiro with my friend. When I eat a meal, I always like to keep my favorite part of the food for the end, always calculating my bites, so I can have the best taste and memory of the food. However, sometimes, I am so full that by the end, I can not enjoy my favorite part. I said this to my friend and he thought it was interesting and weird. I then realized that most of my friends just enjoy their food and don't think about which part they want to keep for the future last bite. So I thought to myself: what if I do the same with life? What if I make decisions based on what I think the future me will want, but when I actually reach that point, that is not what I want or need anymore. And the truth is: I do. So one major thing I will leave in Argentina is living life thinking in the future. I want to make decisions that feel right now instead of the ones that make sense for the future.

Another thing I will leave in Argentina is my fear of uncertainty. Uncertainty used to freak me out which is why I have always overcalculated my every step to avoid failure. Now, when I see uncertainty, I see opportunities. Opportunities to grow, to learn, to discover myself and what I really want. Not knowing where you will be is also beautiful because life keeps surprising you whether that is sometimes good or bad. 

Lastly, in Argentina, I was able to experience life from a very very different perspective. I realized that many times we get stuck/fixed in some things and we think that there is no other way to live life but this. We think that there is no other path we can take, and unless we do this exact same thing we want, we will not be happy or satisfied with ourselves. But life turns out to be just fine in the end. 

So go out, make those choices that feel right to YOU right NOW, do that study abroad program, take that dance class, learn that language, take that gap year, apply to that job, travel to that place, or anything else that is in your mind, because it will be worth it. 

This is my last one, so bye to my lovely readers, bye to the beautiful country of Argentina, to all my friends who made my experience special, and bye to the old parts of me that I will leave back in Buenos Aires. 

christina zogopoulou headshot

Christina Zogopoulou

I am a travel enthusiast; originally from Greece but have lived in three different continents, including Asia, Europe, and North America. I am excited to live in Buenos Aires and love the constant movement of the city and its vibrant culture.

Home University:
Claremont McKenna College
International Relations
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