“Going home is going to be difficult”
I think it is pretty safe to say the time LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly flies by without stopping. I am starting to feel like if I blink, I could open my eyes and realize that I have missed it all. It’s almost impossible to believe that we have been living here in Mexico for almost three months now. It feels like it was just the other day that I was sitting at home packing and trying to prepare to leave home for the SOL program, four months on the road, living in a bus and then living under the Mexican sun for another four months.
When I say that time is escaping me, it is not to say that we aren’t doing a lot, because simply put, it is quite the opposite. I have come to realize that the largest numbers of activities that can be crammed into a day, the more hours you are awake for and the more time spent with amazing people makes the days slip away so much faster. Looking back at our first three months here, we have witnessed, experienced and laughed so much together, and it has made our friendship so much different and stronger than most. The five of us have had such amazing opportunities, we have learned to make tortillas, lived in a typical shack, slept on the beach, hosted Hero Holidays, watched and helped to put a new roof over the heads of many deserving families, met incredible people, swam in the ocean, and tanned in the sun. It blows my mind to think that in a few weeks we will all be headed on our separate paths and I can only hope that they will cross again somewhere down the line.
It wouldn’t be hard to see that this experience has changed all of us in different ways. It has become normal to walk down the street and share the dirt road with stray dogs and chickens, it has become a routine to walk passed people gathering wood to make a fire and cook by it, it isn’t unusual to see a Mexican riding a horse, wearing a cowboy hat, riding along-side the cars. All of these things have quickly filled the void of the normalities of home. Thinking about going back and wondering what it will be like is something that we do frequently. Being here and spending time with people who are so grateful to have a bed, a safe place to sleep at night and maybe an even meal, is the extreme opposite of spending time with people in Canada who have a burning hunger for more things, and more belongings, the desire to fill a certain image and look a particular way. What is it going to be like going to a place we used to call home and re-adjusting to such a material world? Things that mattered before seem to be trivial now after experiencing these things and seeing what we have. There are the big things like seeing so many children with one set of clothes, only rice in their bellies and hope of going to school tomorrow and then there are the smaller things, like deciding not to put on make-up in the morning, all of which have become common to us. Going home is going to be difficult, I have realized that a one week trip is never going to feel like enough to me again. I have realized what is important to me and I have reaffirmed in my mind what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can say that some days I wake up and think about how lucky I am to have been here and remind myself not to blink to long. I remind myself to enjoy every moment of the time we have left. Going home we can’t let these thoughts, experiences and memories drift away from us, instead we must carry them with us and share them with the people in our lives until we have the chance to make more.
Nikki – School of Leadership Student currently in Mexico