What to Do When You Just Really, Really, Really Want to Give Up
Have you ever experienced getting sick in a foreign country with no family or loved ones nearby?
If you haven’t, let me paint you a mental picture: Me. In a Buenos Aires hospital on a Saturday morning because I had bronchitis. The process of obtaining healthcare in a foreign country is difficult but in this one you literally take a number from a slot machine and hope that a doctor can see you at some point.
It was a beautiful spring day outside of the hospital waiting room so the windows had been left open to allow the wind to blow in. All of a sudden, in the midst of waiting for a doctor, I glanced up to see a mangy, flea-bitten cat simply walk in through one of the open windows and into the emergency room. Something about seeing a stray animal enter a hospital (what I normally imagine as a hygienic, humans-only kind of zone) was strange. Something about having had a fever for three days was also strange and with this combination I began to cry.
In the last week I have cried three times.
The first time, for several hours to my parents via FaceTime as I told them that I couldn’t hide from this feeling of crushing loneliness anymore.
The calls looked something like this:
(Scene: Me sobbing on my bathroom floor, complete with purple-stained lips and a Krispy Kreme donuts shirt.)
Me: “I want to come home! I’m not happy here! I miss my friends!”
Translation: “I want to come home! I’m not happy here! I miss my friends!”
Respective parents: “Get on a flight tomorrow!”
Translation: “I’m a terrified parent 5,000-plus miles away from my eldest child who must have gone out of her mind to have done this to begin with. Get the hell home!”
Getting to a place where I was seriously considering turning my back on the decision to move to Argentina is not one of my proudest moments. Yes, I can blame it on the fact that I may have been slightly tipsy from the vino. Perhaps it was those glasses of wine that allowed me to push past my typical hard-headedness and realize that for the first time in my life I wanted to give up.
The second time I cried was because of that damned cat. The third time, it was because I could not find an Alabama football game on a television in the country of Argentina.
I have never gotten to the point where I truly thought, “Hey, Kelsey, you’ve tried hard but this is it. You can’t do anymore.” This Thursday I came pretty close to saying goodbye to my post-grad adventure and retrieving to my comfort zone.
A month and a half in South America has proven that all growth is uncomfortable, especially if you uproot your life and move to a foreign country where you don’t know anyone. That’s kind of a drastic measure.
But I continue in my stay here somewhat optimistically because so far there have been individual lovely moments. There have been a few friends, some really great shoes and a cute boy buying me a lamb gyro at three in the morning. All I can hope is that these great moments start coming together in a solid way, clumping together to form days that aren’t totally lonely. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
(Oh, and I also need my parents to continue to answer my FaceTime calls because I can guarantee there will be more red wine tears. Adulthood is hard.)