They say that home is where the heart is. They also say that home is wherever, “I’m with you.” But if home is where heart is, then my heart is scattered across the world: a little town off the Ocoee River, the smoky hills of East Tennessee, the North Georgia mountains, and the capital of the happiest country in the world. It’s crazy that after four short months I can feel so at home in a place. A place that is so different, so foreign, so strange, fills my heart with awe and wonder and gives me an abundance of joy.
I’m comfortable here. Life is easy and calm with very little stress. There is an ebb and flow of a simple lifestyle that crosses paths with people every second of every day. Coming here was such a big dream and it still doesn’t feel real that it is happening. It’s even harder to believe that it is coming to a close. Yesterday there was snow on the ground and I was filling my days with adventure while I waited for classes to start. Today it was 28 degrees Celsius and I needed a break from the impending doom of finals so I explored a cave. I have made some wonderful friends, seen beautiful creations, and I will carry away with me so many memories. I’ve laughed and cried, I’ve been afraid and stressed out, and have been challenged like nobody can imagine. I have learned a lot about this wonderful little country and even more about myself.
So yes, I do have to say goodbye to this lovely little city and this breathtakingly beautiful country. I will return to the States and my life will be a little less exciting and probably way more boring. I will spend my time in a theater instead of a new country. I will be working multiple jobs, balancing thesis and graduation and will encounter a bit too much stress.
This goodbye, though? It isn’t permanent. Like a dear friend told me days before I moved across the Atlantic, “it’s just a see ya later.” This place is a home that I am having to leave behind and an adventure that is being put on hold. “Put on hold” meaning it is not over, yet. It might not get picked back up for two or ten or eighteen years or six months from now, but one day it will.
I will live in Switzerland again and it will be for longer than four months. My Swiss Pass will be the good one with unlimited travel all over the country at all hours of the day. I will rent or buy a car to see the places that are a little more remote. My time will be spent hiking and trying my hand at one of the snowy sports. I’ll go skydiving and paragliding, caving and biking. Maybe I’ll raise cows and have a Saint Bernard with whiskey around his neck. I’ll learn how to speak German and improve my French. I will do all of the things that I haven’t had the funds, time, or energy to do over the past four months and then some.
I don’t think it has quite hit me what all it will entail to pack up and board a plane to fly five thousand miles back across the Atlantic. There are certainly mixed feelings and a million different emotions that are wrapped up with it, but knowing that I will come back to this place makes leaving worth it. And knowing that I am leaving a piece of my heart here makes me excited to share my story and my adventure with anyone who will listen.
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