This past weekend I flew home from Barranquilla, Colombia. The adjustment coming home was much easier than I expected, but leaving was much harder than I expected, too. My last night in Barranquilla was eventful. I had an alarm set for 3:30 AM as the bus was coming to pick us up at 4:00 AM. I planned that night to go out to dinner with the other students from UA and head to bed early so I wouldn't be too tired the next day. After dinner though, it really hit me that I was going to leave and I did not want to go home. We stayed at the restaurant for a few hours and then later walked across the street to the discoteca named Frogg. For a few hours we stayed there until the rest of my group left except for one and two of our Colombian friends came. We stayed for a bit and danced until we walked home and all sat outside talking for hours until the alarm went off on my phone to wake up. I quickly walked home and felt very sad as I rushed to pack up. Maria, a 23 year old Colombian women who lives in the house to cook and clean, helped me pack my things in the bus. As we said goodbye we both cried and kept saying "Te amo" and "Hasta luego." I didn't expect to form such close relationships with the people in Barranquilla, but as I left I felt that I'd gained people who felt like family. I cried as I said goodbye to my Colombian friends and as I hugged Maria. I can only hope that I'll return one day or that they'll visit the United States and we can see each other again. 

Before this trip, I would have felt embarrassed crying in front of my friends, but after being in a culture where everything feels more open, I feel more open myself to express emotions, happy or sad. I didn't feel embarrassed or truly sad as I cried. I more so just felt very grateful for the connections I made and to have people that I would miss so much. My time in Colombia made me realize how the place doesn't matter so much as the people.