Sunday, June 12, 2011

in between home and home

So I know myself well enough at this point to realize that if I don’t post something now I never will. I’m currently sitting in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. That’s right…. I’M ON AMERICAN SOIL! And it is so weird. Everything is in English. There are so many blonde people. Everything is clean and shiny. Everyone is in such a hurry. I can see what they mean when the talk about reverse culture shock… I’m sure there will be a lot more of that to come. But I don’t even care right now… because in just a few hours, I will be with my FAMILY!! Words can’t even express how absolutely pumped I am to see them! AKLSJLJK!!! It’s been a while :) 

So quickly, an update on this crazy thing called the return…

I knew from my crazy arrival that my year would be anything but uneventful, and I guess I decided I might as well go out with a bang, too. Or by bang, I should say eruption. The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcano in Southern Chile became active last weekend for the first time in half a century, and spread an ash cloud across Argentina, reaching all the way to the Buenos Aires area. Flights all week have been canceled in and out of the capital, and when Thursday night the ash cloud situation was more severe than ever, I was told my flight Saturday from Formosa would most likely be canceled… and that I would have one last Argentinean bus experience left in my year.

The goodbyes then came quickly. Before I even had time to realize what was happening, I was at the bus terminal (sobbing my eyes out) and saying goodbye to Vito and Graciela, Cele and Lucas, Maya and her family, Ro and Mamá, Jim and Philipp. I still couldn’t believe that day had already arrived. It is going to take weeks, months, maybe even years to soak up everything I’ve experienced in the past ten months. The things I have done, places I have seen, and people I have met are simply too incredible for me to comprehend, let alone try to explain. All I know is that I have never cried harder in my entire life than my departure. In all honesty, I am so incredibly lucky, the tears were just a testament to the amazing relationships and memories I’ve formed over the past year, and there are very few other 19 year olds that can say they already have possibly the hardest goodbyes of their life behind them. This year went by fast. Really fast. Too fast. But it only seems that way when I try to sum it all up at once. When I look back at the individual moments, pick the memories and experiences apart and line them up side by side, I have well over a years worth.

In all, my travel log is really somewhat insane. This final 16-hour bus ride bumps my final km traveled to about 41, 591 km (just counting trips). The distance around the world at the equator is 40,076 km, meaning that if someone were to build a road around the earth, it would be as if I hopped on a bus and rode that thing around completely, and stayed on for a little extra just for kicks! I mean seriously, how awesome is that? I don’t even know how to begin to add up hours spent traveling, but I know that I’m going to end up topping my entry travel time of 43 hours, with a whopping 48 hours and 10 minutes, or that is if all goes well! My flight from Buenos Aires to Dallas ended up being delayed until 2:45 in the morning last night, and so I missed the 10:50 flight back home, the 11:15 flight was canceled, and the 12:55 was full, so I am currently scheduled to go home on the 3:45 flight… which as of right now is delayed until 4:50. Whew! Good thing Argentina has taught me just how relax and go with it.

Ah. I still can’t believe this day is here. I’m really at a loss of words right now. I suppose that’s what happens when you mix excitement, nostalgia, exhaustion, reverse culture shock, and okay, just a lot lot more excitement, together. So I guess I’ll just leave it at that, Argentina- you were fantastic. I can’t wait to come back to you soon, and to bring my family with. But right now, it’s time for another part of my life. 

And that part starts with some of the worlds biggest hugs and kisses at the MSP airport.