Adventures in Nicaragua

Hannah DeVries: Columnist

There isn’t enough space in this column to explain everything I am feeling at the end of this trip. I have tried so many times and each scratched out sentence is a testimony to how difficult it is to describe what it is like to say goodbye to a person and place you were just getting to know and connect with. It’s like saying goodbye to a person you never knew before, but when you realize that will never see them again, the potential of the relationship you could have had, but now realize you are never going to have, almost breaks your heart.

Before the time came to actually say goodbye to my host family, I kept trying to figure out how to word a goodbye that would fill the months and years’ worth of silence about to stretch between us. But there is no such goodbye. Eventually words would stop coming out of your mouth, and you’d stand there looking lost while trying not to cry, with all the memories you want to thank them for running through your head as you hug them instead of wiping away the tears. They say home is where the heart is, but where is my home when my heart is in two different places? This kind of bittersweet can’t be put into words.

But I’m an English major, so I like to try anyway. For one of my final class presentations I ended up writing my own poem to mimic how Nicaraguan poets wrote a poem in response to major historical events happening in Nicaragua during their life. This is a section of what I wrote:

Nicaragua

You show me what it is to love

And what it is to miss

To leave a piece of my heart in one place when I leave for another

But when I cry

Is it at the beginning or the end?

Because I am excited or sad?

You have opened my eyes

Given me ideas

Shown me there is more to a world

And more to a worldview

Than what lies in concrete walls

And dusty notions

You taught me what it is to learn

When to speak

And when to keep silent

How to laugh

How to take pride

And how to be humbled

But the more I learn

The less I know

Cities gain depth

The world gains breadth

I am sad to leave you

But because of you I am happy to go

Ready to set out

Ready to learn

And not learn

The rest of my life

I was only in Nicaragua for three months, but these are the invaluable lessons I learned. It was easy to constantly feel like I was learning and discovering in Nicaragua because everything was new and foreign and exciting. Honestly, life back home seems terribly…mundane in comparison. But now the spots have shifted. Nicaragua is my old friend I find it the hardest to say goodbye to, and the states, even though I have lived there my entire life, is the new friend I have been given a second chance with

That goodbye was one of the hardest I have ever made. But now I have the chance to take the same attitude I came to Nicaragua with back to the States. Life is an adventure, even if it is has always been with the same people and in the same place. It took leaving the country to realize this for me, but I’m eager to come back now, even though I don’t have my life planned out whatsoever. My eyes are open, and I’m ready for whatever my next adventure may be.

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