>Guilt…

>Sometimes I feel so guilty when I think about moving to Chile. I think “How can I be so selfish to leave my family behind just for my own happiness?” Then I realize that the whole “just for my own happiness” part is pretty huge.

The two times I’ve been to Chile I have had some of the happiest moments of my life. I realize that is partially due to the people I spent them with, some of which will not be there when I move down, but I think it’s something more than that. It’s something about Santiago that I really really love. I have the hardest time explaining this to people, especially to F. who thinks I live in this wonderful green paradise and how could I ever even fathom moving to the cement jungle of Santiasco. But honestly, when I read the word “Ñuñoa” I get giddy. Tonight F.’s sisters were going to go to Renca to a party for the 18 and he didn’t know where that was. I do! That’s because sometimes when I get sad and miss Santiago I look at my Mapcity book. I’m such a nerd.

Anyway, despite the fact that I know I’m happier in Santiago, I also know that I will miss my family. It’s more than just missing their presence, it’s missing major milestones in their life. For example, I’ll probably miss my father’s 50th birthday. Seriously, the pangs of guilt are sometimes hard to bear.

Once I was griping to my older (and wiser) cousin about this. She told me that I have to do what makes me happy, and that should make my parents and family happy.

And the thing is, they are happy for me. My family has been nothing short of supportive. What’s funny is, that makes it almost harder for me. The other day my aunt said to me, “I’m going to miss you a lot when you’re in Chile but I’m so happy that you have all these opportunities to travel.” I almost broke down on the spot, right in the middle of my grandparent’s 50th Anniversary dinner.

I want my family to know that just because I’m leaving does not mean I’m chosing Chile over them. If I lived in the perfect world I would translate my entire extended family and friends to Chile so I could have my metaphorical cake and eat it too.

But as F. always puts it: life is everything but fair, and unfortunatley it obliges me to make difficult decisions in which I end up thousands of miles away from the people who spent so much time and care raising me to be the person I am today.

So to my family, if and when you read this:
First, I love you.
Second, Thanks for everything.
Third, I’m sorry for having to leave (even if it only ends up being for a year).
Fourth, You’ll always have a place to stay in Santiago.

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