As I sit in my nearly completely packed up room at IONS, I’m mulling over these past two weeks and wondering to myself what has come over it. I was so afraid upon arrival that I’d be too shy and too withdrawn to enjoy my time here as much as I should. And for a while, I was.
I was so afraid.
Afraid of everything, everyone, and being away from my home, especially. But when I realized that I was coming out of my shell, I was also realizing that I was following my own advice, and I was becoming braver, stronger, and I was changing. When I told Tess that I was afraid to trust people because of my past, or when I laughed with Caroline about the filter between our brains and our mouth, or when I told Peter that I wanted to be friends again, I knew that I had grown exponentially from the time that I landed here. And when I wasn’t sure whether or not I was making an impact on other people, I looked at the tiny envelope on the wall with my name on it, an activity we were assigned in order to thank our friends with notes to them, I saw that it was overflowing.
I can’t explain to you how it made me feel. I can only tell you that leaving the people here will be just as hard as leaving home. Because in a way, this is home. Or it was. I’m excited and confident in myself that Senegal will become a place just as hard to leave as any home I’ve ever felt that I had. And I have a group of people that support and love me and tell me that I’m amazing and will do great things. And I believe that I will.
I believe that I will prove them right.
So goodbye California, goodbye United States. Until we meet again.