Day by day, this trip’s end comes nearer, and I can’t help but already feel a bit nostalgic for the time that has been spent here. Each moment I catch myself realizing at some point how fleeting the present really is: how one day these will all just be a collection of photographs, stories to tell, or memories that I smile about whenever I’m reminded of them.
I tend to view my life experiences as opportunities of growth, and taking time to reflect has been so important. While it seems like we have not been here for very long at all, it feels like it has been a very long time all at once. Thinking about who I was the day that I left Denver International Airport feels strange. It sounds cliche, but these past five weeks have challenged me to grow and become a better, stronger, and more confident version of myself, and that is something I wasn’t really expecting. Yes, I knew that this would have an impact on me, but I thought it would be more on the academic side of things if I were to change at all. After all, it only really has been five weeks. I still feel that difference in myself, though, and it is quite remarkable that such a short period of time spent here had the ability to change me so much.
When I am home, I might speak of the academic experience a bit – the papers I wrote, journal articles I read, conversations with professors I had. However, most of what I speak of will not be that. Rather, I hope to speak of this:
the scenery, the art, the places
landmarks and buildings
mindless strolls around the city
the drinks and cuisine
unfamiliar places and people
silly cultural nuances
hugs from my new friends
reuniting with old friends
laughter that doubled us over
late night conversations
flashing lights while we danced
places we loved
bus rides we hated
moments of reflection
moments of growth
moments of frustration
moments of resilience
moments that will never be replaced
and, most importantly… all the vine references.
To my group members: Thank you for your kindness, friendship, and acceptance. This place and you all will always have a special place in my heart.