“Why is it this hard?” I asked.
“What is?” he answered.
“Leaving. I knew I was going to leave the minute I got here. So why is it this hard?”
“Maybe it’s because every time you leave somewhere that’s important to you, you leave a part of you there.”
He was right. Parting Bolivia always meant leaving a part of me. Painful, but in my eyes, necessary.
I left home when I was sixteen because I felt limited. Bolivian youth was bred under the idea that we could not change the reality of our country, they set boundaries between what was “do-able” and “unreachable” and with that limited our possibilities.
I was lucky enough to be able to build the path I was eagerly looking for and become someone that now realizes that taking roads less traveled are difficult but essential. The innumerable experiences and qualities I found along the way have taught me that my horizon must not be full of dreams, but also actions.
The feeling I get after leaving Bolivia reminds me of the work I’ve started and still have left to complete.
2 days, 13 hours and 10 minutes.
That was the insane amount of travelling it took for me to get from Bolivia to China. It took only 1 minute however, to forget about how tired I was as soon I saw Lang 老师 (Jun Lang) and a sign that read “Chinese Studies Institute.” I couldn’t believe I was that happy to see a familiar face.
Lang 老师 (“lang laoshi” which stands for Teacher Lang) was my Elementary Chinese teacher back in Richmond. She was the one who encouraged me to apply for the program and since then, never left my side. She hugged me and put us both in a cab on our way to my new apartment.
I was the last one to arrive to the apartment where I and 5 other girls would be sharing it with a teacher. The apartment was quite fancy for Chinese standards, it was pretty big and clean, and seemed to have covered the basic necessities. Ma 老师 (the teacher I would be living with) showed me around and introduced me to my beautiful and exotic roommate, Ble. Ble is from Madagascar and attends Wooster College back in the States. She was warm and friendly, so we started on the right track.
It’s getting late now and I should be heading to bed. Tomorrow will be a big day.