I never thought saying goodbye would be so hard. It wasn’t hard when I left for college, and it wasn’t too hard when I left to study abroad. But, for some reason it has been super hard this time around.
Saying good-bye to my best friends from high school wasn’t easy. One of them is getting married when I am serving and I won’t be able to make it back to see her become a married woman. My other high school friends are following their dreams and I dive into mine.
My friends from college—most are off doing the things they love—but the ones still grounded in Arkansas, I was able to say good-bye. How do you say good-bye to the loved ones that have supported you through thick and thin the past four years? I am not very good at good-byes. How do you say goodbye? I love to joke and say: “see you soon.” Realistically for the majority of my support system, I won’t see them for a long time.
Some tell me that they will come and visit. I know full-heartedly that some will, and some won’t. It’s a reassurance they love to give and I love to receive. To know that there is light at the end of the tunnel makes me feel so much better. 27 months is a long time—but not as long as it seems. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t concentrate on the time because it will eat me alive, but how can I not when everyone asks me, “How long is this?” “Wow, that’s such a long time!” As if I didn’t know what I was signing up for.
My two best friends in the entire world that currently live in Arkansas were the absolute hardest to say goodbye to. I know one will visit, and it will be the visit I look towards during my first 9 months of service and the other, I hope, I can only hope.
As I get older, I understand the meaning behind the word nostalgic. When I was younger, I didn’t understand the idea behind looking at the past and truly painfully missing it. Now, I look back at my college career and truly savor the moments. I love how my mind only remembers the good, the wonderful, and the amazing from college. While I visited in Arkansas, I slowly learned how much these loved ones mean to me. My heart aches for when I will be with them again. Where I can cuddle up next to them and know I can be myself, no one else.
As I travel back to Colorado, I know my few days with my parents will be painfully stressful. I will wonder what I have signed up for and also remember the only reason I became who I am—my wonderful parents. Saying goodbye to them has never been challenging. My mother strategically has made me a free spirit always encouraging me to follow my dreams: from gymnastics, to basketball, to field hockey, to teaching, to studying abroad, to now, joining the Peace Corps.
I will spend a couple whirlwind days in DC and Baltimore with my sister and two of my friends I studied abroad with in Ghana. How fitting is it that I get to spend my last moments with all three people that were with me in Ghana—my wonderful sister visited me while I was there.
With choked up tears and searching for my bravery—somewhere inside of me. I say, Pree-yat-no (which is goodbye in Macedonian).
My journey this summer from New Hampshire, to Georgia, to California, to Colorado, to Arkansas has been a blur, but a blur where I have learned so much about myself and others. Wish me the best and send me love through letters, packages, and simply texts or messages on my google voice number.
As I say from departing my loved ones: LTD, Live the Dream, and I am living it!