Yes, you’re reading the title correctly. As of today, I have a week until I board my plane at 7:30 am, destined for Frankfurt, Germany. Six full days. Six full days left in the country I’ve fallen in love with, six full days left with my amazing host families, my best friends, and my favorite food in the world. I will only take bus 227 home six more times, I will only walk through the main square six more times, I will only have this beautiful city at my disposal for six more days.
And after that, there will be no more meetings at the horse, mornings spent in McDonald’s, afternoons spent at a park, evenings spent in a cafe bar, or nights spent out with my closest friends. No more of my broken Croatian, no more bakeries, no more chasing after buses and trams, no more Zara and Bershka and Mango and H&M impromptu shopping sprees (although I’m sure my mom is more than happy about that), no more burek or cevapi or knedle, no more Skype calls to my friends and parents at home, no more strange encounters on public transportation. I won’t be surrounded by beautiful architecture anymore, I won’t spend hours by myself walking through my city and just appreciating its beauty, I won’t stand in upper town at night and look down at all the city lights, I won’t go to the roof of Hotel Dubrovnik and see for miles around me; I’ll be back to my tiny little town in Nowhere, USA.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Burlington; I do, I really do. I miss my family and friends and dogs and school and ENGLISH. But it’s so hard to want to go back to a place like Burlington once you’ve lived in a place like Zagreb. My exchange may not have been the most glamorous- I didn’t go to the wildest parties or make the most friends or travel to the most countries- but to me, it was perfect. I had hardships and so many down points; but those were always defeated by the countless ups. Every time I start thinking about leaving, memories I’d forgotten about come back to me. Rainy afternoons spent looking down at the main square in Ritam Grada, picnics in one of Zagreb’s hidden parks, discoveries made by taking sketchy paths through woods, hotel room parties, and hundreds, if not thousands, of inside jokes with Broatians.
I’ve spent every day of the past few weeks trying to live my life here to the fullest. I’ve come home late and tired every night and spent considerable amounts of money and gotten caught in thunderstorms more than a few times, but it’s more than worth it. I love my life here and I have no idea how I’m going to let this go.
Thank you to my real family, for letting me go on this crazy adventure, to my host families, for treating me like their own daughter and always looking out for me, to my Croatian friends, for dealing with my sometimes indecipherable Croatian, to my exchange student friends, for being the most loving, accepting, salty, amazing group of people I’ve ever met, and finally, thank you to Croatia, for being such a wonderful country and allowing me to a be a part of it.
The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in North Carolina. I’m scared and nervous and excited and happy and sad and heartbroken all at once, and more than anything, I don’t want this to end; but all good things must come to an end, and this is the end of one perfect chapter of my life, and hopefully the beginning of a new one.
All my love,