What to Do When You Just Really, Really, Really Want to Give Up

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.)


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