Departing Thoughts

Dear Reader,

“One day I will find the right words… and they will be simple”

—Jack Kerouac

It has come to an end. My year abroad in New Zealand is now within its final hours. Right now I am in the Auckland International Airport waiting for my flight and it is hard to pinpoint exactly what my feelings are right now. I’ve been asked many times, “How do you feel about leaving?” and I really can’t seem to find a clear answer. I’ve read through the blogs of other study abroad participants who have already left their host country to see what the right words might be. But all that I found was that I am not the only one to be at a lose for words.

What’s particularly hard to find are the right words for saying goodbye. And I don’t mean a “see you later” kind of goodbye—like the kind I said to my friends and family back home a year ago. But a real goodbye. One that might be the last time I ever see someone. In the last couple of days I’ve had to say a lot of these goodbyes to all the friends that I’ve made from New Zealand and other countries. And while I hope to see them all again, I just don’t know if I actually will. Words in these situations are especially hard.

And as I return home, I’m not only saying goodbye to people, but to the whole country of New Zealand: the beaches, the mountains, the ferns, the birds, the accents, the laid-back lifestyle. It will all be far away in just a few hours. Whether or not I return to New Zealand in the future is not a guarantee. New Zealand is located in a pretty remote corner of the planet, which makes it hard to get here unless it is your intent on going here. I would definitely love to come back, but when that will be… I’m not so sure.

And how do you describe an experience like this? This life-changing experience with all its beautiful moments and challenges that made me the person I am as I write this entry. Finding the right words to sum up my whole study abroad experience in one entry when I return to the States will be tough.

Perhaps on my final flight home I will find the right words. And I predict they will be simple.