There were so many emotions that I was not expecting to experience as the last week approached. Happiness, sadness, anticipation, stress, and longing.
Throughout the semester I was surprisingly more homesick than I had anticipated, so when the final weeks were upon me, I was surprised to find myself feeling remorseful that I would be leaving so soon.
The last week is filled with the stress of finals and trying to mentally pack everything back into just two suitcases. All the souvenirs and gifts I bought waiting for their own transatlantic journey to begin while I am busy studying. Last minute assignments take up my time. And all the things I have not yet done are beckoning me. As I make a list of the last minute things I want to do, I realize there is not enough time to do all of them. There are still so many cafes and restaurants that I have yet to try. So many nooks and crannies to discover. So, so much. And I haven’t even started on the goodbyes.
Of course goodbyes are hard. You meet new, amazing people that you made so many wonderful memories with. The crazy thing is when you don’t realize you have said goodbye for the last time. I started saying bye before I thought I would have to. I casually met with people that I assumed I would see once more and then never did. So the easy casual bye ended up being the last time I saw these people. Thinking that I won’t see them again is quite sad and to think I was not able to say a proper goodbye is a little worse. No grand hugs and memories to commemorate the friendship that we have created. No great adventure or last hurrah. Just a quick see you later and a farewell nod.
And yet, the last days continue to encroach. The realization hits and I am transported to the days when I first arrived. The new normal that had almost become mundane is suddenly new again. I look at the trees that line the streets and see them dressed for the cold weather just as I am. Their colors, different from when I had first arrived. The architecture is refreshing once more. I notice new curves and carves. Each detail that is revealed is more intriguing than the last. The people live their lives. I see glimpses here and there. Moments that can never be replicated. I enjoy the route to school once more. The lights add to the magic. Each night colors fill the streets, twinkling as people walk under. Christmas songs become the soundtrack, and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has never had so much meaning. Friends and family wishing me a safe flight and speedy return. But to return means leaving the life I have created here. The people that I have met, the routines I have created, the food I have tasted, they all disappear with one security check. But the love I have for this place will not disappear. It only inspires me to return. One day I will return.
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I am a silly, go with the flow kind of person. I love adventure and family. Travel and home, the simple and the extravagant. I am Kaitlyn Morales. From a small town in California, I have taken every chance I can to travel.