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November 25, 2012

An Homage to Those That I Love

(Finally, a somewhat emotional post haha)

Ohhh the holidays.
This year, they represent for me another huge transition in my life.
Not only will I be finishing up this semester at Clark, but I’ll be going home for the first time in over a year, and two weeks after arriving, I’m moving to a country I’ve only been in for maybe five days before.

When I first applied to go abroad, I was so excited.
And I still am, don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait for all the adventures I’m sure to have that will change me and continue to help me grow as a person, and I get so anxious to go every time I think about it that I become ridiculous unproductive, and spend all my energy convincing myself not to start packing yet.
But I’m at that stage where I can’t help but be sad.
I know, obviously, that what I’ll be doing will be far more interesting than anything I’d be doing if I stayed…but the leaving of certain people behind who will graduate before I return, and especially knowing how freaking upset I’m going be when I have to leave Germany after making it my home….it kind of sucks.

In picture form, here’s what I’m going to miss the most:

My family, including my goofy brother, sister, and that dork-of-a-dog Murphy

  

My roommates, Shannon, Stella, Maya, Elyse, and Claire

 

And both my Eugene and Clark friends, especially those I made during PA Week

        .

 

So in honor of my previous study-abroad reminiscings and the holiday season, I unearthed a poem about the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program written by a fellow past-ambassador. I came across it a few years ago on Facebook, and I don’t think it was somebody who went to Denmark too, but his experience really spoke to me, and can explain what me (and future Stef) will be feeling far better than I ever could. It’s lengthy, but the last bit always makes me cry. And without further ado, here’s “Twas the Night Before Departure” by Tanner Orion.

‘Twas the night before departure, and all throughout the land
Next years exchange students with plane tickets in hand
they said their farewells, and hugged everyone goodbye
not knowing of the crazy adventures in front of them that lie…

A room full of memories all packed in a hurry that night,
“Hey Mom, can you sit on this for me while I zip it up tight?”
Visions of faraway places and foreign lands they dream
It’s all fiction until tomorrow, when their planes will leave.

Halfway across the world teir new friends awake
they don’t know it yet, but he/she will be their best mate
their dreams continue, all exciting and stoked
little do they know, this time next year they’ll be broke

The moon gives way, for the bright sun the next day
they wake up to reality, for today is the day
A day of tears, fears, and many make-up smears
A day of joy, adventure, and a little maturity I might add.
I love you so much, I’ll miss you Dad.
“Hey Mom, who’s gonna do my laundry?”
“Just kidding, I’ll miss you real bad.”
“Hey Sis, I took your favorite dress (hehe)…no I
didn’t, but I wanted to real bad. I guess I never said this,
but I love you to death.”

The tears trickled through, but the excitement prevailed
All proud and adventurous, as my mom’s arms “flailed” goodbye
I never thought I’d miss them so much until they weren’t by my side.
The plane took off, and the flight attendant brought drinks, 
A little turbulence for me nervous, but I’m ok, I think…

The flight continued, and in their dictionaries they looked
Actually, this was the first time they had ever opened this book.
“How do I say ‘Hi’? ‘Goodbye’? What if I need to go to the bathroom?
I don’t know!” The fear inside them began to grow. 
Another night passed, and thus another day. 
They are all needles in a hay stack, special in their own way. 
The flight attendant woke them all up, “Hey lady, I don’t want any orange juice, 
why did you have to wake me up?” they say…
A great way to start off such an important day. 

A smooth landing and they were there at last
about to meet their new host families, not knowing
their year would go by real fast.
A big smile, and some good-old morning breath
“I can’t wait to take a shower, I hope they have one,” I wept.

A new culture, a new family, a new language and land
“Anything else?…I don’t even recognize the sand.”
“Where am I, who are you, how do I say…and what’s this?
I feel really lonely, I can’t stop thinking about everybody I miss.”
“I wonder what my friends are going right now, what happened 
at the party, and who kissed.”

The story continues on, for about nine months to a year
The aventure has just started, and the end doesn’t seem near. 
Their days pass, and their friendships grow, “leaving my new home is the toughest part…I wish I had known.”
Their eyes are wide, they’re flaunting overwhelming smiles alike
I hope Mom and Dad don’t mind my new tattoo, curfew, study habits, and insight
I’ve changed a little bit, gotten out on my own, you know
I’ve lived by my own rules for a year, I thought you should know
It just won’t be like it was before my riends
I’m lost in my own paradise, I no longer need your advice.
Hey, what’s up? Not much I say.
If I told you, you wouldn’t understand, anyway.

The sun sets, and back in their own beds they lay
A year of their life, well worth the extended stay.
So many stories, and so much to tell
The experience of a lifetime, “I went through heaven and hell 
I can’t say it was easy, and I can’t say I loved every minute
But I grew a lot, I learned a new language, and no that’s not it.
Sometimes I like to keep it to myself, that way I don’t ruin it.”  

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