Five days left! I can count them on one hand, or one foot if I’m feeling creative. Five days until I walk back into that airport, fly over that ocean, and emerge in weather that will be so shockingly, unforgivably cold.
(It’s 20 degrees here, too… but in Celsius.)
My favorite guy’s going to be waiting for me in that airport. I’ll be going home to family I love, friends I’ve missed. I’ll be coming home in the middle of the Christmas season when everything’s even more magical than it usually is.
But coming home isn’t going to be easy either. I’m already preparing myself for the shock of being back in the Midwest USA; for the jolt of leaving a place that's become home and people who have become close. It's going to be a great, but rough, few days; and if anyone wants to give me a hand, here are a few things you can do when you see me soon.
1) Be Patient
Maybe I’ll come off the plane so excited that I can’t stop talking. Please be patient while I settle into normal human conversation! Be patient when Honduras comes up again and again. Be patient enough to sit through unending photo slide shows.
On the other hand, maybe I’ll step off the plane quiet. All this takes time to process, so please be patient while I think of the right words to say – or any words at all. Please be patient if I don’t have my stories polished yet. Or when I just need to be alone.
I love Honduras, in a complicated, comfortable way. It’s hard to leave my host family, my friends here, my beautiful city, food and music that’s becoming more and more familiar. Please be patient when I’m backwards-homesick. Because I’m going to miss this place.
2) Ask Questions
Whenever I’d go anywhere as a kid, my dad would ask me about it this way: “So you got out of the car… and then what happened?” Please don’t do this. Four months is a long time, so you’re going to have to be a little more specific. I’ll start practicing a little spiel for the hundreds of casual “how was Honduras?”s I know I’ll get, but I can’t fit much depth into a spiel. So give me a little more to go off of. “Tell me about living with a Honduran family.” “What did you do on vacation?” “What is Development Studies anyway?”
I want to share so much with all of you. But I don’t want to bore those who’d rather not hear. So if you’re curious, ask! One of the best ways to love is to listen.
3) Hold Me Accountable
I’m coming in with an aching conscience and a thousand new ideas. I want to start putting these ideas I have to work. But I can’t do this alone. So will you please help me? Tell me when a plan is silly or overly ambitious. Call me out when my behavior doesn’t match my goals. Keep me humble. Help me keep on learning.
This is maybe the most important way you can be nice to me when I come home. Don’t let me get carried away on the high of my study abroad experience, but don’t let me forget it either.
This also means… expect me to be nice to you too! No matter where you’ve been, you have your own four months of experiences, ideas, stories, and growth. So make sure I ask you about that. make sure I’m patient with you, make sure I know what I can do for you too.
4) Other Things!
Nearby loved ones. Come and see me! I can’t wait to talk again. Far-away people – send me an email! (firstname.lastname@example.org) I want to hear what you’ve been up to.
Let me whine about the cold at least a little bit.
Give me at least a month’s grace on “Well, in Honduras…” comments.
Let me practice my fractured Spanish with you.
And if you know where to get a good baleada in West Michigan – hook me up. I will love you forever.
Michigan, I’m coming for you!
Five more days.