I changed host families a couple of weeks ago. Although my new family members–and new house–are only about ten yards away, I still had to go through the process of packing up and moving. And as I pulled apart every single thing in my room, I started feeling exactly like George Banks in Father of the Bride Part II when he sells his house and subsequently freaks out (if you have no idea what I’m referring to, I’ve included handy clips throughout).
When I first realized I had to switch host families, I didn’t think much of it: I would be in the same community, I would see the same people, and I would generally have the same day-to-day life. My room itself was nothing special. I felt like George Banks when he rationalizes selling his house, saying “Who needs this old shack?” while his whole family is shedding tears. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjWgP3PBrbg#t=27m20s. Stop at 27:55.) And although my host family wasn’t moving with me, I sometimes felt like my family of Fellows felt it more than I did when they called and asked how I was handling it.
But then I actually started packing up my things. I first came across an old note I had left my 14-year-old sister, telling her that I left to Tena and would be back before 4 that afternoon. I guess I won’t be writing those notes anymore. Then I found three friendship bracelets: one from Fall Training at Stanford, one from the nice cleaning ladies at our “school” in Quito, and one from my second day in Chichicorumi from a new friend. Wow, it was 4 months ago that my journey started. And just like what happens next in Father of the Bride II (If you haven’t already, watch the next part.), I started going through my Global Citizen Year journey, starting at my teary flight from Raleigh, NC to San Francisco, CA. Lots of emotions and adventures since then!
When I thought I was done packing up everything–and when I was done mentally re-playing my last four months–I looked around to see what I had forgotten. And that’s when I saw all the nails on the walls and my perfect rock-turned-hammer. (If you don’t think there is a science behind choosing the perfect rock to use as a hammer, you are sadly mistaken, my friend. The rock needs to be big enough to that the force is nicely dissipated before it reaches your hand. It can’t crumble while hitting the nail. It needs to be smooth to ensure no wayward contacts and no wayward nails. Let it be known that my rock made the perfect hammer. But I digress.) I had to take down the wire I used to hang my clothes. I had to take out the nail I used to keep the electrical outlet on the wall. I had to take down the nails I used to hang my towel, my jacket, and my bag. And that’s when I lost it like George does in the movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjWgP3PBrbg#t=50m05s). That was when I connected my physical room to the memories I had in Chichicorumi. As George says, “This is not a piece of land. This is my home . . . I laid these bricks with my own two hands . . . Don’t bulldoze my memories, man.” And although I didn’t build the house I was in, and although nobody was going to bulldoze my room, I pretty desperately did not want to leave.
But, eventually, I did leave (unlike George Banks). I moved into my new room, which is where I am now. And you know what? I still use my rock-hammer. I’ve already made a new hole to hang my towel. And I’ve already left a note for my new mom before leaving to Tena. Yes, I miss my old family dearly, but I still get to see my siblings frequently, and when my previous mom came back to Chichicorumi from her job two hours away, we had a good talk while working through her math problems. As it stands now, my old room has been moved into. My “new” family is great. And life continues, and memories continue to be made.