When I was a student studying here and the time for me to leave was approaching, I was a mess. I cried all the time. I didn’t want to leave. I was angustiada, which most closely translates to distressed; I was a mess for the couple of weeks leading up to my departure.
Five years later, I’m leaving again. I have cried exactly three times, mostly from nostalgia. I’m sad to leave in that way where you know that this is the end of a chapter in your life, one that you can’t go back to. I’m sad to leave the great friends that I formed here. I’m sad to leave my daily routine, which I’ve become accustomed to.
But I am at peace with my decision, and that has helped me from becoming such a wreck like last time. Also, there are two things that I’ve realized that have helped me as I come to the end of my time in Chile. One, as a very wise friend told me : not everything is permanent. I can come back to Chile whenever I want, and that makes me feel a lot better about leaving. Second, Chile doesn’t seem as far away as it did when I was an exchange student. Yes, Chile is FAR AWAY, but I’ve now traveled back and forth a total of 8 times, and with each time, it seems a little easier, a little closer. Plus with Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc, I can be in touch with my friends here in Chile in an instant.
I am also excited to start this new phase of my life. Excited and terrified, mind you, but the prospect of being a student again is quite exciting. I also am looking forward to experiencing living in a different part of the U.S. (the South!) and being much closer to my family.
It’s hard to sum up the last five and a half years with a few words, but I have to say that Chile has treated me well. It sounds corny, but it has helped build the person I am now and has definitely shaped who I will be in the future. While I can’t say that if I were to do it all over again, I’d do it exactly the same way, but I am so glad that I’ve had the experience of living abroad.
Finally, I want to thank you all for having followed along over the past three and a half years since I started this blog. The community of Chile bloggers and ex-pats throughout the world has definitely helped me through some tough moments. I plan to keep blogging, so I hope you decide to keep reading.
Hasta luego, Santiago. Nos vemos pronto.