I was humbled by my final days with colleagues, friends and family.
First, thank you to: 1. my Columbus Literacy Council co-teachers who hosted goodbye events, with cards, brownies, lemonade, and goodbye discussions with the students; and 2. my Toastmasters club which hosted a happy hour at a Mexican restaurant (it was a blast to meet outside of our Thursday gatherings).
The going-away party with friends was perfect. It started with a grillout and a keg of Columbus-brew beer (brought to the event on tandem bicycle!) and ended at my friends' favorite place in Columbus for dancing.
At home in Cincinnati we had a gathering with some extended family and family friends. Over the past few years the way I look at family has evolved a bit (perhaps this happens in adulthood). I now better realize the importance of having people with whom you will always be connected, who will always care for you, and who have a shared history. It was fun talking with my uncle, a gas station owner, about his marketing of specialty beers, and with other family members about their travels, jobs, and other experiences.
Emotionally it was hardest to leave Columbus. Columbus represents the place of my early adulthood, my university education, and relationships with friends that I will have for life. I had grown to be a huge fan of the city and thought of myself as an ambassador for outsiders and my friends alike ("hey guys, there's such-and-such going on this weekend, it should be fun, wanna go?"). It was saddest to know that I was leaving this place that I love, and that my time with my wonderful friends, who I love, was never going to be the same again.
While it was emotional to leave my home and the people there, it was not hard to press forward with this trip. I felt like there was a magnetic pull for me to do this, there were no doubts in my mind about what I was about to do.
In many ways I looked at my final days like a roller coaster; when I left Columbus I climbed into the car, and from that time forward the car was going to climb and climb to the top of the hill, until I reached the top of the hill, got on a plane, and started the ride that would be my new life in Santiago.
|Joe and me, shoving off on the tandem keg-bike (his own creation).|
**more photos to come