Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye

... not to you people, of course. You can't get rid of me that easily.

Last week Thursday, I packed up 10 months of my life into one suitcase, a backpack, and purse-zilla and hopped on a plane to go home. When I was at the Marconi airport waiting to board, I wrote a goodbye post that I promptly trashed for being too emotional.

I'm not a sentimental type, at least not in public, but when I had to hug Dru goodbye at 5 AM in front of Via Rialto, 23 (AKA my self-adopted home away from home), I got a little teary. After checking my back at Marconi and getting through security, I began having tunnel vision and ohmygodohmygodwhatamidoingwhereamigoinglifeisscary moments. It didn't help that I was still feeling slightly hungover from the celebrations from the night before (Read: Dru and I watching Easy A drinking limoncello and wine like the crazy, girls gone wild that we are aren't) and had guzzled down 3 cups of espresso before leaving. Now, I'm not a math major, but to me that equation reads:

 No sleep + slight hangover + emotional goodbyes + freakouts about future + gross airport air + too much a lot of espresso = Hot Mess Lindsay

Saying goodbye is a strange thing, especially when you don't feel like you're leaving. When you say goodbye to the people, places, and things that you've become so used to, it never feels quite real. But you know it's real. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

All jokes aside, I'm very sad to leave Italy, to finish the final pages of this remarkable chapter in my unwritten, phantom autobiography. This has been the most epic, terrifying, fulfilling, difficult, beautiful year of my life. I have done things I never imagined I'd do, traveled to places I've only dreamed of, grown more than I'd ever thought possible, and--above all--met the most incredible, caring, beautiful people. Over the course of the year, I've realized that it's not the places you go or the souvenirs that you buy that make travel or study abroad so significant--it's the people you meet along the way. Travel isn't as fun if you don't have a partner in crime. Studying is only worth your time in someone is there to distract you (okay, maybe not... but it makes it so much more fun). I suppose this blog post is really a (platonic) love letter to the people that made my year so utterly fantastic. And it was so, so hard to say goodbye to them.

Saying goodbye is hard--but so are all the things that make life worthwhile, which means Goodbye must be a pretty worthwhile thing. Endings are sad--they mean saying goodbye--but you can only start a new chapter once you sign off on the one you're writing living. At the heart of all things, isn't that what life is about? Beginnings and Ends? Really, isn't life just what happens between Birth and Death (the two biggest Beginnings and Ends), which act like bookends on an otherwise extensive library of adventures and misadventures (is there really a difference between the two?). We write the story of our life. We make the decisions that make our story progress. We are the ones who decide whether to be the protagonist, the hero/heroine, the victim, the villain, the best friend,... of our own life story. 

This year was one of the best chapters to date... but I tend to think that every year is the best chapter thus far. And I hope, I pray, I beg that things continue as such. That doesn't mean that things always need to go write, that all events need to be happy, that you can't write in a few tears or scars... You need to have lows in order to have highs. In the end, all that really matters is that your highs make the lows worth it. 

And this year was so, so worth it. 

*Stay tuned for more, much overdue blogs regarding my year abroad. Just because you say goodbye doesn't mean you can't reminisce. :)

Never be afraid to say goodbye,


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