Well, it is almost two and a half weeks into my 10 month stay, and I am officially experiencing my first serious case of being homesick. I've been fortunate enough to be able to see and talk to my family almost every day (in some way, shape, or form), and even many of my friends, but I guess with my school year starting up, and seeing everyone else's school years starting up back home, things are finally really setting in.
The majority of my time here so far has felt like a vacation. We arrived, were shown around, had time to relax and settle in, but were also immediately kept fairly busy with new teacher orientation and sight-seeing. It felt similar to the service learning trip to Barbados I went on spring break of my junior year of college. So much to see and do, but also doing service work and observing in the schools. It is only now really setting in that I am here to stay in Athens for more than a vacation/break time span. I know this must sound crazy, because you have all known for some time now that I knew this was going to be a 10 month program... but it has just taken time for me to even believe that this opportunity is real, let alone that it is actually happening.
Last night and today have been particularly difficult for me for many reasons...
First, because I discovered that my younger brother (can't say little anymore since he was beginning to tower over me) was going to be the quarterback, safety, AND kicker for the Cape Cod Tech JV football team... AS WELL AS being the punter for the VARSITY team! And he's only just begun his freshman year there! This, as you can tell, has made me so insanely proud as his big sis, but it also is making me miss him and home terribly. Knowing that I won't be able to see him in any games, or be there in person to pry details of how everything is going out of him (because it is IMPOSSIBLE otherwise) is starting to really upset me.
Also, seeing and hearing about how the Cape is finally slowing back down now that all the crazy tourists are leaving is making me miss it a lot. The times right before and after summer were always my favorite growing up there because the weather was still so nice but it was usually only the locals, enjoying their town and homes before and after the madness occurs/occurred.
I also made the mistake of going through MANY of my pictures on my computer (some of which go way back to around 2005) to compile a folder of pictures of home, Boston, Wheelock, family, and friends to turn into my screen saver collage. While I am happy I did this, and enjoy watching them all go by on my screen, it really got to me just how crazy, scary, and amazing this new chapter in my life is. So many of the pictures came from folders such as, "Summer 2011", "Summer 2012", "Christmas 2009", "Christmas 2010", and "Wheelock freshman-senior years." All of these have been constants in my life, something that would happen every year... everyone else growing and changing, but nevertheless together to celebrate. Even Wheelock, once being a new, exciting chapter, became a steady constant in my life. Going through all of these folders of memories really made me realize how new and intimidating this brand new chapter in my life is. Such a different chapter, that it is actually interrupting old chapters such as Christmas and Wheelock.
Finally, while it is already 9:30 pm here in Athens, my best friend since childhood is getting married right now back home. This has proven immensely difficult for me today. I was asked to be one of her bridesmaids all the way back in December of last year, right after she got engaged. I was so excited and thrilled to be asked to be a part of her special day that I didn't even hesitate to agree. I had no reason to! Then this opportunity of a lifetime came up out of the blue in January. For so long, it seemed just like a slight possibility. An option in a sea of endless options. Then suddenly it became REAL. And the very first thing I thought of and realized is that with the dates they provided us, I would have to leave before my best friend's wedding. I wouldn't be able to be home for it. This absolutely crushed me. I was devastated... and even worse, I was going to have to share this devastation with her. Nothing was more difficult than telling her (after going dress shopping and everything) that I was no longer going to be able to be in her wedding because I would be halfway across the world. Like the true best friend she is, she was nothing but completely supportive and encouraging.
Today, she was able to take time out of her busy morning of preparing to Facetime with me so I was able to still be a part of her big day, in some small way. It is nothing like I dreamed and wish it could have been, but it meant the world to me that I was able to see her and wish her the best of luck. I couldn't keep myself from choking up and crying, then after composing myself and finishing the call, completely losing it. And now, I find myself tearing up yet again... but I will be fine. I am so completely happy for her, and although I will always be disappointed that I could not be there, I will remember that I got to see her and be a little part of her wedding day.
Well now that I have rambled on with my emotion-packed writing for some time now, I am going to call it a night soon. Hopefully some sleep will do me some good.
Sending my love to everyone back home. xoxo