Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Citizen of the World

When I first arrived in Chile, I stayed at this dumpy hostel near Barrio Bellavista. I met a girl there who was originally from Brazil and moved to the States in high school. She seemed very American to me but could speak Portuguese fluently and managed Spanish easily. She told me that I would be changed forever by living in Chile for even six months (the amount of time I believed I would stay at first). She said that once you live in another country, you are no longer just a citizen of your country, you're a citizen of the world.

Recently, I remembered this comment as I've started to feel the stretch of loving more than one country, many, many miles apart from each other. I'm nervous. The problem with traveling and living abroad is that 1) you want to travel more (which really isn't my problem) and 2) you feel comfortable everywhere (again, not much of a problem) and 3) you will never again be in one spot where you don't miss something somewhere else in the world (this is my problem).

Your favorite restaurant could be in Chile. Your favorite cookie in Los Angeles. Favorite modern dance company in Davis, California. Favorite hip hop class in Santiago. Favorite hostel in Mendoza. Favorite market in Peru. Favorite desert in Ushuaia.

Perhaps it is my motherly instinct rearing up in me, but it's a hard thing to accept that I will never have everything I've ever loved gathered up all in one spot. It is the sacrifice I've made to travel the world. I will see the world. I will love the world. And there will always be a part of me longing to roam and return to the places I love, no matter how many miles away those places are.

I think I'm okay with that.

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