I miss my family.
I wouldn’t call this feeling homesickness. Tunja is home. But, like any other home I’ve had in the last five years, it’s a home away from some of the people that I love most. When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I went home every other weekend or my parents came to visit me. This was gradually extended to a little bit less than 3 months. I am pretty sure that three months is the longest I have ever gone without seeing my family, and that was because I was in Spain. It’s not that I’m not independent or that I need someone to buy me things, cook for me and do my laundry, although those are nice perks that sometimes happen when I’m with my family. The biggest thing for me is that I really enjoy spending time with my family. My primary love language (and the primary love language of my parents) is quality time and quality time just isn’t the same over Skype.
My parents and I decided separately that this was the week. The week when we are ready to see each other. I’m not crying myself to sleep at night, but I’m definitely thinking of them more often. Unfortunately, a flight ticket to or from Colombia isn’t possible every 3 months. I am going home for Christmas, but that’s 66 more days until I see them. Not that I’m counting or anything…
My mom and I were recently discussing the fact that in 10 days, I will have reached 3 months in Colombia. This is so strange to think about. I spent three months in Spain, and those three months felt so much longer than these. They also felt so much more “exotic” and “amazing” and “life-changing”. Living in Colombia has definitely changed me. It’s different. It’s wonderful. However, it’s just another part of my life. When I left for Spain, I was miserable – overworked and sick with few friends and a strong, constant feeling of isolation. It was my first time living outside the US and everything was beautiful. This time, I left in a much better place. I was happy in the US. I had learned that Spain was a wonderful country, but that the USA could be just as great.
I did not come to Colombia to get away from my problems in the US. I did not come to Colombia to “find myself” or “escape”. I came to Colombia because I wanted to learn about the culture, I wanted to teach in a foreign context, and I wanted to improve my Spanish. I wanted to experience more of life. I am doing just that. And I know that when I leave Colombia and return to the US to finish my MA, it will be bittersweet. I will be heartbroken to leave Tunja and overjoyed to return to Atlanta.
So, this weekend I am cooking homemade marinara sauce with meatballs, which is what I do every time I miss my family and can’t see them. Probably, this time next year, I’ll be making arepas.