Good news: I pulled an A+, A, and B+ on my final exams this week. Bad news: Today was my last day in Rosario.
The time crept up on me so fast. Surely six-ish weeks is a long time, and looking back on my first day in Argentina feels like some time ago; but I can’t help but feel it’s not enough. I can’t help but feel like I’m only beginning to get the hang of things. No longer do I struggle for words when that random dude on the street asks me a question that I only vaguely understand, nor do I fear the unruly taxi drivers while crossing the streets. I’ve got every road in downtown memorized and can officially bargain a price with street vendors. Empanadas? I can make those! Maté? A new beverage of choice. I have practically made a life here, how can I leave now?
Well, I don’t know. For the past week or so, I’ve been caught between never wanting to leave this city and feeling a bit homesick — or, maybe just Lilly-sick and Cafe Yumm-sick. I’m blessed to have so much to look forward to at home, but even moreso that I will get to arrive home with such fond memories of the first half of my summer 2015. While I’m not the type of person to excessively dwell over my experiences, it might be hard to shut me up about study abroad for…like… a while.
And so now… I begin the long list of thank-yous. And it will be long.
First and foremost, I send my thanks to AHA International/GEO Study Abroad, whatever they want to be called. Your seemingly perfect program in Rosario is obviously a result of very hard work and organization.
I send thanks to those who donated to my GoFundMe. Yes, all of those donations mattered! I had the relief of knowing when my scary billing statement arrived that it would be paid with much more ease. Your donations were more than monetary, they also acted as mental support for me…that yeah, I actually COULD do this!
Special thanks to my unforgettable professors and hard, hard-working staff. Maríe, a big-deal lawyer who taught our Human Rights class, showed us some special gems of the city, and took the time to know (all) of us! Lucía, my grammar professor who I will continue to say is the only person that can make grammar bearable, even during our 3-hour Friday classes. Stella, my Conversation instructor, who both challenged and loved us. For someone who spoke no English, it’s amazing how well she could connect with all of us and became our friend.
Beba, Rosario’s site-director who very obviously cares deeply about all of her students and is really the one to thank for…everything! And Fernanda, the first Rosarina we met on that intimidating first day, who wrangled all of us around Buenos Aires and coordinated the UO-UNR Law partners that later became some very good friends. Hola Fer, estoy seguro que estás leyendo! Additionally Estella and everyone else around every day.
To all the Rosarinos who let the Americans clash your style and took us under your wing, you all are what made this trip. You made us feel like locals instead of awkward exchange students. You made Rosario feel like home! Agustín for being my best friend while down here. Julieta for always taking us awesome places and always showing us incredible kindness. Matías, Zaira, Manu, Noe…the list could go on.
My host mom for being exactly like my real mom back home, feeding me the best meals of 2K15, and for caring for me like one of her own. The homestay experience creates something special; a bond that even a language barrier can’t break. This will be the hardest goodbye.
Finally, the nine other American students who kept each other alive and also drove each other crazy during these past weeks. So, so, so many hours have passed with these fellows. Let’s thank Brittney for being my (third) mom. Alexi for letting me cling to her the first handful of days since I only knew her. Joel for the excessive chirping. Brett for constantly forcing me to reevaluate my thoughts and opinions. Jacquelyn for understanding and validating my poli sci jokes. Brandon for turning a familiar face into a friendship. Hannah for keeping our group grounded. Quin for his quoteable, Ed Sheeran-like antics that kept us all laughing. And Taylor for his beard. It was so fun having a group small enough like this which allowed us to all grow very close. For those at UO, I’ll see y’all soon. For those at Ball State over in Indiana, chirp chirp.
Today was hard. I didn’t expect the goodbyes to affect me as much as they have. I know it sounds lame because I was only here for 6 weeks, but then again… these were my people for a month and a half! How will I not miss the crap out of them?
Tomorrow the bus picks me up at 10:30am outside my apartment, and we will arrive at Buenos Aires to catch my flight by 8pm.
Tuesday I will be home. Chau, Rosario. I will be back soon.