Bittersweet doesn’t even begin to describe it.
This morning as I watched our basketball team get presented gold medals I couldn’t wait to go home. Four days. So soon. There’s just so much to look forward to. I can’t wait to see my family and friends, to pet my dogs and take them to the Dog Days of Summer Giants game. I can’t wait for band camp and our first game day. I can’t wait to eat cheddar cheese again. By Friday I’ll be back in the United States and profoundly grateful for everything I have. My mom came back from Mass to pick me up to take me to my grandma´s house for lunch. I got in the car still in my fantasies of watching our game against Syracuse at Bdubs with my best friend. And then she mentioned how I was leaving soon and I was struck by the overwhelming urge to cry. I managed to hold myself together, but only just. I made it through lunch too. But perhaps that was due to my being wary of the sopa de Mani that upset my stomach last week. I drifted in and out of my fantasies of being back in the States.
After lunch one of my uncles shepherded us into the yard to take a picture. It was then when my mom grabbed me and said that she wanted “her Lauren” that it started. Tears well up in my eyes as I tried to put on a brave face for the camera. Afterwards I rushed off to the bathroom to try and clean myself up before anyone noticed. Pull yourself together Lauren, you still have three and a half more days with them. I walked out of the bathroom not completely sure that I was okay. I thought about how my grandma has asked when I’d be back. The tears threatened to come back. Inside the TV room golf was playing. Well this is good, watching a sport I hate should at least distract me a little from everything. My aunt came in and asked when I was leaving and if I was contenta or triste. Tears leaked out of my eyes as I tried to say both. I attempted being really interested in the golf game, but that didn’t stop and uncle and a cousin coming over and asking the same question. The tears started rolling; my cousin got me some water and a napkin. Somehow, our conversation of broken Spanish and English (my uncle wanted to practice) cheered me up, especially when we talked about NUMB and I got that glow that comes from talking about game day. Though every time I laughed it almost made me start crying all over again. It was saying goodbye to my grandma that was the worst. She told me to know that I had a family in Bolivia my uncle said in his broken English. And then I was hugging her and trying not to sob.
As soon as we got home I left for the internet café; I was pretty sure that if I so much as looked at any of the members of my family I would completely break down. The walk here was peaceful. It was a clear day, and the sun was setting. Trees and ravines outlined the mountains ahead of me. And I thought about Evanston and Roseville and mostly of the family I’m leaving behind in Cochabamba, uncertain if I’ll ever see them again. This is hard. I can’t honestly say whether I’m contenta or triste. The two emotions are so intertwined right now I can’t even begin to tell them apart. Let alone write a coherent blog post. Nothing in my life has ever been so bittersweet.
On Thursday I have to say goodbye to my family. And I’m going to be a hot mess. On Friday I’m going to be back in Evanston, Monday I’ll spend the night in my new little house on Garnett, and the following Tuesday I’ll be back in California. I’ll probably cry those times too. My little adventure is coming to an end and I have no idea what to do with myself.