But for me, its a very unusual case.
I usually get very homesick when I am away. I remember when I was younger, I would always be the first person to get picked up at slumber parties. When I was away from college, I cried almost every night. Its just something that I've always done.
However, this experience was way different. In fact, it was the opposite of my usual happenings.
It started the night before I was away. I was eager to get home to see my family and friend. I got all excited; I had the souvenirs ready, the sand in the bottle, the seashells in the bags. I then realized that along with seeing my family and giving them big hugs, it would be the last hugs from the kids, and my lunch family.
And then I became very overwhelmed with the thought of not seeing the kids everyday. Or my wonderful host family. And the most wonderful friends that I made while I was here, and just took a moment to cry. For the first time in my life, I didn't want to leave!
Tomorrow eventually came, and I hugged all the children that I hung out with at recess. They all hold a special place so near and dear to my heart. Their smiles were so big and bright, and I walked out of the school smiling, knowing that in some way, I had to have made an impact.
I then said goodbye to my host family, which was extremely difficult as well. The family is so beautiful, and so full of life. The children are so bright, and have great futures ahead of them. Each afternoon, we talked, we smiled, we laughed (a lot), and even learned some handshakes. They even did our hair at some point.
Holding back my tears walking back, I knew how much I would miss it. Cabarete was like home to me. The people I met, the hotspots in town, the school community made me feel so comfortable here. It was so hard to just back 18 days of unbelievable memories just like that.
I keep reminding myself the PURPOSE of this trip. The OPPORTUNITIES that have awaited me. How much it would impact me for the rest of my life. I finally felt okay leaving. Leaving my imprint on this community so much that they have left an imprint on my heart. I have no choice but to continue the legacy that I have so lucky been able to be in presence with.
Packing my bags and boarding the plane, I smiled. I knew that what was waiting was just positive and amazing things to look forward to. This trip made me realize that only good things await. It only goes up from here.
Not only have I learned about language barriers and diversity, but how to bring the sunshine as well as a zest of life to bring into my classroom, and every day life.
I can thank the Dominicans for that.
I cannot wait till the day I meet these amazing people again.
As Glinda and Elphaba say,
"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good".