Thank you to all of the know-it-alls that read this title and thought you were the smartest person in the world for knowing I spelled Postpartum wrong. I’m very aware that the real disease is not spelled this way, but I did not just give birth to a child. So, what I’m experiencing is really actually post parting depression. I’m right, trust me on this.
I’ve been back in the good ole U S of A for a week now. It’s eerie that, while I can remember every little thing that happened to me in Chile, it still feels like I never even left. I’ve heard this happens to most people that study abroad, and I am disappointed in myself for fitting into the statistic. As I look for a job and work on my International Business Research Paper, Chile begins to seem more and more like a distant dream.
The first moments: crying in the Des Moines airport because I have never lived anywhere else/ never been out of the country and I may have been a little in over my head; grabbing some Chinese food at the Dallas airport and manning up because I am not a crier and I’m strong enough to handle this; seeing the others in my program and not having a clue what kind of relationships would be made with them.
The average moments: watching tv in my room, searching desperately for English with Spanish subtitle, settling for It Takes Two, completely dubbed in Spanish, because let’s be real I know most of the dialogue in the English version pretty well; grabbing coffee with my host mom, bonding over our shared addiction; sitting on the beach with the people I’d grown closest to, just watching the waves and being perfectly content; playing cards with this cute blonde guy from Massachusetts and our new Chilean friend Omar, happy to find people as competitive as myself.
The exciting moments: walking out into the desert with some of my closest friends to get a better look at the Atacama night sky, and seeing the Milky Way at its finest; getting mail from my sorority sisters and family back home (mostly candy because they know me really well); the first day on the beach when I realized I had never lived in a beach town before and I was going to enjoy this change of pace, like a lot.
The sad moments: messing up my reservation for Lollapalooza and begging my stepmom for help (stubborn independence out the window); losing my phone on the streets of Viña del Mar and crying to a comforting street dog (swear I’m not a crier); saying goodbye to my other half, saying goodbye to my host family, saying goodbye to one of my favorite couples, & the saddest moment: saying goodbye to the most special guy I have ever met, crying again because the most amazing experience of my life was finally drawing to a close.
Recounting all of those things is a little therapeutic. Chile holds most of my favorite memories. But there’s still a part of me that feels like I’m telling someone else’s story, that there’s no way I could come back here and feel this… Normal. Unchanged. The same. Like I probably just finished my sophomore semester at Drake, I just don’t remember it for some reason. I’m hoping the dreamlike state wears off soon. I’m happy to be home but at the same time, wishing I could go back to all the incredible friends and family I made in my little seashore town.
(On a separate but related note: Hearing about my study abroad and asking “Wow so cool how was it!” is actually the worst. Because 1) Your interest doesn’t go as far as to actually care about the details of my trip and 2) How on Earth do you think I can sum up my entire experience in a ten second response to your question? (which is how long I’m assuming your attention span will last) I have so much appreciation for people that ask specific questions, or show a real interest in my favorite memories or what I learned about myself. If you’re not interested to hear those things, because clearly I have plenty to say, that is one hundred percent fine by me, just don’t ask me how it was at all and we’ll be gucci, thanks!)