To be honest, I’m still reflecting on my emotions towards being back home. It’s only been a week and I need more time to process it all.
My last day at work was the sweetest! The teachers I worked with threw me a small party. The three teachers gathered their classes and made a circle, placing me in the middle. They danced around me and expressed their gratitude. I explained to them that I was forever grateful for having been apart of such a beautiful community. These teachers were beyond ordinary and I made sure to let them know. They gifted me with a large photo of them with their classes and individual drawings from the students with an address attached to stay in contact. As I said my good-byes, I had one of my little children in my arms. She dug her face into my shoulder. I asked if she was okay and when she looked at me, she had tears coming down her face! My heart broke. I know it’s part of the journey but walking out of a child’s life is not easy. I’m going to stay in contact with the teachers via e-mail but I still wish I could have stayed with my little babies forever! I can’t wait to hear from them!
Now, my arrival into J.F.K was not as bad as I expected it to be with the government shut down. I made it through customs in less that 15 minutes. I filled out a quick questionnaire on a computer, the guard asked me, “Are you declaring anything?”, I said no and went on my merry way. I walked out of customs and broke down in tears when I saw my dad smiling at me near the entrance. I missed my people! I have thoroughly enjoyed being around my family. I love being in their presence and being able to hug them. I cannot begin to explain how tired I grew of Facetime. On a scale of one to ten for connectedness, one for low and ten for high, I give Facetime a big fat three. I prefer to “talk to ya when I see ya,” when it comes to long conversations. In the states, I typically use Facetime for silly, short conversations. However, I checked in on family on a weekly basis and sometimes daily. It was bitter-sweet to say the least. All-in-all, I am taking advantage of the time I have back at home.
Aside from working, I spent majority of my time in Spain applying to graduate schools. Thankfully, I completed all of that work before coming home but Uncle Sam still found a list of things for me to take care of. Welcome home! Jokes aside, I do enjoy staying busy, but I would enjoy it more in Valencia, where the sun is always shining, the coffee is 1.50 euro, and everyone takes a siesta. That’s the one thing I would definitely bring back from Spain if I could. If dying and taxes are inevitable, why not throw a siesta in the mix to make it more bearable? Ah, one can dream.
Overall, I am extremely excited to see what 2019 brings. By February, I will find out my status for graduate school! I’m honestly at peace with whatever the outcome is. I just have this feeling that everything will play out the way it is meant to. Spain helped me focus on my strengths as an individual and it assured me that I am on the right path. 2019 is my year to further engage in activities and conversations surround topics that I am passionate about, i.e. mental health, mental illness, child-care and development, social issues etc. I dedicated myself to my undergraduate work and received wonderful opportunities because of it. Now, I am prepared to take it to the next level.
This scholarship helped me immerse myself into work that I care about dearly, but it also allowed me to hit the reset button. I know that I earned my awards and opportunities because of the work I put into it all. However, it put a strain on my mental health, and I know this is an issue for millions of students across the world. That’s why I am beyond thankful for this scholarship. I needed it more than I realized at the time. Now, I am prepared for what’s to come.