Less than two weeks away. Less than two weeks away until I arrive in Santiago, my new home for the next five months. When I think about that fact, a flurry of emotions passes through my gut. I am, as I’ve repeated a thousand times to friends, family, and acquaintances, excited. I am curious to see what Chilean culture is like and I am exhilarated by the opportunity to speak Spanish every day. But I am also nervous. There is a part of my heart that seems to drop down to my stomach and I’ll be honest with you, it’s not the most comfortable feeling. Those of my friends and family who know me well know I am apt to overthink and reflect on my emotions a lot, for better or for worse. Well, reflecting on why I feel so anxious to leave, I think it has more to do with what I am leaving behind than what I am about to endeavor on. I love my city of Boston, from the North End to Post Office Square Park. I love being able to see my parents every day and hang out with my high school friends. I am going to miss that New England autumn, where the leaves transform into a crescendo of bright oranges, reds, ambers and browns. I will miss being around people who don’t give it a second thought when I say “wicked” or “roundabout.”
But here’s the thing. I’ve fallen in love with more than my home city before. I’ve grown to love D.C. and living on the Georgetown Hilltop. Exactly two years ago, the summer before my first year at Georgetown, I experienced an uneasiness that is not all too different from this one. And yet, lo and behold, I grew to love my new city of Washington, D.C. My sunny Sunday walks from the front gates of Georgetown to Trader Joe’s never fails to fill me with a sense of contentedness and belonging. While D.C. autumns have nothing on Boston’s brilliant colors, the spring cherry blossoms never fail to amaze me. I have had countless stupid yet unforgettable nights with Hoyas that I already know will be at my wedding in who knows how many years. Dramatic, I know, but what’s my point? I suppose that what I take away from all this reflection is that even though nothing can replace Boston, I can fall in love with dozens of cities. I think what I’m realizing is that part of life is learning to leave places you love in order to embrace new ones. In the wise words of my mom, (or maybe this is already a famous saying anyway), sometimes you need to let doors close so that new ones can open. Or something like that.
This final week I will be busy: packing, saying goodbyes, over-worrying. But one thought is sticking with me through it all. I am ready to fall in love again—with Santiago, Chile.