These past last few days of my semester have been filled with anxious “change” energy-- of my parents coming, of the program ending-- and a million goodbyes.

We all got up at 4am to say farewell to those (most) who were off to the airport (the rest of us were being met by parents, or traveling on). My friend Carlee expressed it well by saying that we’d phased in our relationships with one another—day after day learning more about each other, experiencing more within and between each other. We spent all of our time together—eating three meals, cooking, cleaning, farming, playing, learning, sleeping. And then we all leave. There’s no phase out, or slowly, naturally, seeing each other less and less. We piled everyones things into the car in the still dark morning, and said goodbye. To some, we said “I’ll be seein you”, and meant it, but never again will this community, these people, this energy and trust that we’d built be felt again.

With space and time, maybe I’ll have more profound and measurable quantifications of what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, how I’ve stayed the same, things that I’ve changed, and things that have changed me.

But for now, here’s some things I’m taking home with me:
I’m taking home the ability to jump into a cold shower. I'm taking home darker (angry) skin, and lighter hair. And I'm taking home an embrace of this inescapably inevitably messy, tangled hair. I'm taking home a little spanish, the ability to "chat" a little, or at least the courage to try. I’m taking home a new found and unexpected pleasure and understanding of music. I'm taking home, I think, a belief in God (or something) (which sounds really scary and serious but I think is just fine and normal and right for me). I'm taking home one million stones and shells from the beach, the smell of the water, the feel of the waves. I'm taking home a few special souvenirs for my loves and some new hair scrunches. I'm taking home albums and albums of pictures, an attempt to never forget. I’m taking home a fierce and true belief that you vote with your purchase. The money I spend, just me, on biodegradable shampoo or organic milk is sending a message. I am taking home an understanding of day-by-day work. Of a small, do-able, and measurable mindset. I will do the best I can for the earth and my body today. I will eat less meat, run more, drive less, smile more today. Tomorrow, I’ll worry about tomorrow. I am taking home a true appreciation of my country. Of all that its given me, the opportunity I have there, my creature comforts. And I’m taking home the knowledge that I’m a homebody. I knew that, probably. But now I really know it. There is a thrill in traveling. Of seeing the most incredible sunsets, and meeting the most interesting people, and tasting the sweetest flavors. But I do love home. I’ve missed my family and friends in a way that makes me tear up just thinking about it. I have been given an incredible incredible opportunity and I think that I seized it.  I took chances, made (a few) risky decisions, and stepped out.

Mary Oliver wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I am so glad I did it.

Sunrise, my last morning.