Rachel is a third-year studying Spanish literature. This past summer she spent time in Chile studying abroad. This is her third post from her journeys
Unfortunately, many good things in life must come to an end at one point or another. After a jam-packed last couple of weeks, I said chau to Chile and hopped on a plane that shot me back into the northern hemisphere. Now I’m a couple weeks into my old routine of pumping gasoline into my car, heating up frozen meals, and Googling information whenever I please. Here, no one shouts at me to guard my iPhone with dear life or to wear my shoes in the house because I might get a cold and die. And the best part? My listening comprehension is 100%.
Some days, I’m confused by the weather and weirded out that life back home has gone on without my presence. Other days, it feels as if I never left and this collection of South American memories is nothing more than a dream. Either way, it’s a strange sensation living and seeing and doing and learning all of these things in this other place and having no real clue how to convey any of it to anyone who wasn’t there. For now, I answer their questions about the food and classes and my favorite activities abroad. My hope is that if I spit out enough words with enough excitement in my voice maybe my friends and family can catch some sort of glimpse into the world I experienced for seven weeks.
Home is great. However, the more comfortable I feel here, the more restless I become for the things I am not guaranteed to relive any time soon.
I miss strolling along the boardwalk under a full moon, fingertips burning from the hot cheese dripping out the corners of a fresh shrimp and queso empanada.
I miss having to plan out questions before I verbalize them and that face that people make when I ask them to repeat themselves for the fourth time.
I miss the thrill of predicting whether that night’s metro performer would be belting a scene from Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto or rapping a little too loudly into the mic to the latest from Calle 13.
I miss travelling long distances without enough money for the ride home, sprinting across cities to catch a bus before it leaves, and hunting down storefronts with a Wifi logo posted in the window so I can GoogleMap where the heck I am.
I miss these things and more, but I don’t feel unhappy to be back in the States. I’m grateful that I’m already 21 and I have seen so much of the world, and that I’m only 21 and have so much life left to live. Although I still have no quite finished processing this trip and the many ways it has changed me, I am ready to jump back into another school year, put to use any recently developed skills, and hear the stories and experiences of my fellow students and friends.