Change Yourself…Change The World.

What To Do When You Leave A Country
November 16, 2009, 5:48 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

Today is my last day in Paraguay. In 20 minutes I will get into a taxi, and leave this place. I don’t know when I’ll be back here.

When I first came to Paraguay, it was a really hard transition for me. I have never had such a culture shock in a country before, which was a shock in itself because I have traveled to 20 countries in 2 years- I thought nothing would really shock me anymore. But there I was in Paraguay, shivering from the cold and feeling alone in a seemingly desolate and deserted place.

As I was packing last night, I kept getting flashbacks of that time, when I had first come here and felt so impossibly alone. And how much that had changed in merely six weeks. As I took down all of the pictures in my homey room and moved out my desk, I slowly watched it transform back into the miserable existence it had been before I had come. I wandered down to the kitchen, where the remnants of my goodbye dinner lay covered on the table. Delicious carrot cake and dulce de leche muffins, home baked by Natalia, Polina’s mother, who I have come to love dearly. I wandered around the kitchen, savoring the cutting board I used every day, the pots and pans I had lovingly come to call my own things… and out into the living room where Polina sat on the couch in her sweatpants, while for the last time we sat and cracked up over ridiculous things on Regretsy, and had yet another endless discussion about our futures and graduate school and reference letters and test scores.

Traveling takes a lot out of you. It’s not the wear and tear of the travel itself, of the country you’re in. It is the pain of having to say goodbye to a place that had once been so uncomfortable, and is now so intimately familiar. It is saying goodbye to amazing new friendships you have forged, new discoveries you have made, and things you have seen. It is the sudden panic that you will once again be lurched into this vortex of the unknown, where you will again have to assimilate into something completely new, again have to make new friends and have new adventures and adjust to an entirely new life. While part of me loves this, it is also very painful to let go of the good things that have come into my life, that I now must leave. One thing that I have realized the most out of traveling, is that once you leave, you will never, EVER, return to this phase in your life. It is the hardest and most painful process out of all of the amazing things that come along with traveling.

And now I must say goodbye.

Goodbye Paraguay. Goodbye Fundación Paraguaya. Goodbye intern house. Goodbye Natalia. Goodbye Polina.


Much love,

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