Reading my last post, if you've followed my semester at all you were likely wondering why I didn't include one specific person while listing off the people who made my semester special. That is because when looking through my photos of friends and thinking back on my time here, I found myself with both a plethora of pictures of and lot of things to say about Tommy. Unable to decide between these pictures, each of which holds a different flavor of Tommy, I thought it would be fitting to give him his own post. While I write this, he should be on a plane back to the Bay Area and soon to touch down back at home, likely with a lot of feelings and thoughts going through his head just like everybody when they return after a crazy journey. I hope these pictures and words in some way describe how I feel about him leaving and how happy I am that we met (and hopefully makes up for pretending that I "forgot" my best friend in my last post).
Tommy was the first person I was really able to start opening myself up to here. Reserved and introverted the first few weeks, in Tommy I found someone who I could start to share my sarcastic and dark-humored comments to and who would shoot them back just as quickly. One of my first memories with him is muttering about the impending reality of death and the dark clouds over our heads to each other while the rest of the students complained to the counselor about how tiny their hostparent's breakfasts are. After that first inside joke Tommy quickly became my favorite person in Buenos Aires to joke with, laugh with, discuss with and learn from, complain and vent to and seek advice from, to talk about things I haven't really talked with anyone about and to be completely comfortable with. He invites interaction and takes pride in making conversation, and his love for human interaction and people makes you both marvel in his abilities and want to reciprocate the care that he gives to every conversation.
In Tommy I often see a mirror projection of myself — both someone who shares uncannily similar qualities of mine and someone who is different than me so many ways. We'll steal a joke from the other right before they say it, make the same expression at each other from across the room and know exactly what the other is thinking, have conversations where I feel like I'm literally talking to myself from how on the same page we are. We are both easily distracted and sometimes spread too thin, can disappear without explanation and come back as if nothing happened, are both hard to reach and not often ones for making plans. At the same time, in Tommy I see so many things I wish I saw in myself: he never stops learning and looking and thinking, is intent on meeting people and hearing them and gives an incredible level of empathy and attention to every person, sees injustice and finds tangible ways to fight it and make a difference. He will call you out if he thinks you're in the wrong, be it his best friend or someone he can't stand. Knowing people like him are getting involved in politics restores my faith in the system, knowing people like him exist makes me appreciate humanity and the beauty every person can hold. Becoming friends with someone like Tommy reminds me why I love travelling, why I love living, makes me reflect on what I love about myself and what I know I need to change. Becoming friends with Tommy was one of the most amazing things of my semester, and although I have no doubt we'll see each other again, he is one of the people I will miss the most.
Below is a collection of my favorite pictures I've taken of the one and only Tommy this last semester:
"corklicker" in a vineyard
Our first week in boca, featuring an angry Kristle
Tiger in Tigre
La casa rosada with the golden boy
Red, White, n Blue
Staring into the void
Thomas on the Train
Climbing and sassy
Panic! at the mercado
No pics today plz pt. I
Tommy the tour guide pt. I
Thomas the tour guide pt. II
Tommy in a colonial era pose pt. I
All smiles, with corners up too!
Tommy in colonial era pose pt. II
No pics today plz pt. II
The only man I would ever nominate for president
Love you Tommy!
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<p>I'm a student at the University of Minnesota studying Spanish and Communications. I love traveling, seeing new things, speaking to different people, and getting outside of my comfort zone. I love music, cooking, hiking, taking pictures, and exploring.</p>