As I write this, I am roughly a day and a half from leaving my Mexican home and family for my American one. I haven’t posted in a while due to computer troubles and crazy days. I can’t believe my time is all but over. I’m looking forward to my last day here in Mexico, which should be filled with laughter, soccer, and (hopefully) brownies. I’m sure it will also have its share of tears and aching hearts.
Already, some of the girls and I have had heart-to-heart discussions about what life is going to be like after my fellow intern and I leave. Almost every night this week, we’ve had girls in our room, talking late into the night and trying to suck up every last second of time we have together. Yesterday I said goodbye to many of my friends, as I will not be returning to the main campus before I leave. I talked with my hermanito and reminded him to be a good boy. I promised him I would come back as soon as God permits.
Today we went back to the main campus (which was originally unplanned). I had the opportunity to talk for a long time with one of my little sisters there. She and I walked circles around the campus arm-in-arm as we talked. She didn’t want to let me go. There she was, a 10-year-old almost as tall as me, trying to make sense of yet another goodbye. We didn’t talk much about me leaving. Mostly we talked about the fun we’d had. We talked about when school would start and how she liked it. We shooed away the pesky boys trying to invade our girl time. We recalled all the good memories because we need them right now. But it still ached.
While we were at the main campus, an American family who has been so good to us went back home. Their young daughter shyly came to me with a card she’d made me. I choked back tears and gave her a long hug. I couldn’t believe how attached I’d become in the short time they were here. As I watched them ride away, all the memories flooded back.
Mostly these days are in snapshots. A little boy trying to fly a kite. Another boy repeating everything I said and leaning in for a hug. A conversation with the substitute house dad. Eating tuna on tostadas while sitting with my girls. Laughing with my fellow intern about anything and everything. Swallowing tears over and over again. Crying with friends who don’t want me to leave. Letting 12-year-old girls take as many pictures and videos as they like, running my camera battery down. A little girl lying on my floor with one of my blankets covering her, declaring “I’m sleeping here tonight!” Hugs. Faces. Precious souls clinging to the hope of next time. My house dad giving a beautiful speech about us interns and teasing me when I started crying. Even as I write this, the faces and sounds and memories flood my soul.
I’m nervous about going home. I’m excited to see my family. I’m looking forward to my classes and job this semester at school. But in order to return to those things, I have to leave behind my family here. I have to leave behind the tamale lady on the corner and the juice man nearby. I have to leave behind the spicy food I’ve learned to enjoy. I have to leave behind mentors and brothers and sisters. I have to leave behind my kindergarten class. I have to leave behind my Saturday cleaning boss–the wonderful lady who adopted me and my fellow intern. I have to leave the other interns in the airport while I step onto my plane. I leave behind so much. I gain so much. My heart is too full, and I don’t know how to feel. It’s like leaving for college again, but harder. My heart is more deeply rooted in Mexico than ever before, and hearts have a hard time being rooted in 3 very different places. But as I have told the kids, God knew this time was coming. He has been with me since the beginning. He will be with me and with both my families during this transition. Though my heart aches with emotion, I am grateful for this summer and excited to return home.
Hasta luego, Mexico. Voy a extrañarte mucho.