My sleep-deprived eyes examined the city for one last time. They took in the gray buildings, the chaotic traffic. I could hear honking horns, the rumbling trains and the porteño accent I had learned to love. And my mouth spoke the last porteño conversation I knew I would have.
I finally was headed to the airport after a day of frantically throwing clothes into suitcases, saying my goodbyes to close friends and trying to buy every Argentine product I could. I hugged my host mom and her maid goodbye before I climbed into the taxi. The two women stood their waving and smiling; a perfect goodbye, almost like it came from a movie.
And then my taxi roared up and was on its way. As I sat there chatting with my driver, I found it hard to believe I was actually leaving. After five long months of experiences that had challenged me, I was headed home. I had thought of this day for a long time, wondering if I would be drastically different. Would the normal me be returning, or would some hippie version of myself be on her way back to Kentucky?
Whoever I had become, it hadn’t changed my excitement to return home. I would miss Buenos Aires. I knew the big-city life and the language would eventually beckon me back. I’d miss the family I had made for myself. But I knew it was time for me to go.
After a 12-hour journey, my stay in Argentina had abruptly come to an end. It’s strange how you can wake up miles and miles away from where you fell asleep. Surreal might be a better word. I even forgot it was the Christmas season until I heard holiday music in the airport in Dallas.
But I was home. And that was all that mattered.
From a city of nearly 13 million to a small town of around 16,000, I’ve finally got my open air and quiet space.
Unlike the shock I got when moving to Buenos Aires, settling back in Kentucky was a nice change. I’ve taken Argentina’s culture with me though. I’ve introduced mate to my friends and family (that didn’t go over too well), made delicious choripan and have brought cumbia music to our parties. It seems Argentina is going to hold on to me for a bit longer.
And just when I’ve started getting comfortable back home, I have had some great news that is about to change my life again. In just a few days, I’ll be moving to Washington, D.C. for a journalism internship with USA TODAY. This is an amazing opportunity, one I’m so lucky to get. So, once again I am off to another city, and at least this time I won’t be so far away.
D.C., here I come.