Hello hello! I’m going to be totally honest: I’m not actually feeling the most motivated to write today, but I wanted to get some thoughts down in a concrete form in order to get them out of my head. We haven’t had class this entire past week because of Semana Santa (or Semana de Turismo, as it’s known here; more on that later). On Saturday morning, we left Montevideo at the truly heinous hour of 8:00 a.m. for Punta del Diablo, a small tourist town about four hours away. After spending Saturday through Monday there, I was honestly feeling pretty great. I had inspiring conversations with my friends, got to completely relax (mostly in hammocks), and got way too much sand in my socks. Again. Punta del Diablo also marked my one month-versary in Uruguay, which is relevant to the rest of this post.
Even though it took us approximately 82 million years to get back to Montevideo, the weekend was a great way to kick off spring break. On Wednesday, my roommate and I hit up a bookstore in Ciudad Vieja that I spotted the last time we were in that part of town.
I honestly teared up a little. I also spent way too much money there. It’s fine.
Thursday was when things started to get a little dicey. While innocently watching everyone’s Snapchat stories, I got hit with a completely overwhelming wave of emotion. Shit, I thought. There it is. I’ve managed to stay pretty emotionally detached for most of my stay here so far, but on Thursday, something in me just snapped. Along with seeing my friends’ lives carry on through my phone screen, instead of in person, I’ve had to grapple with the knowledge that everything really will be different once I come back. Three of my closest friends are graduating or moving in May, and I won’t be there to see any of it. Hearing them say “I miss you!” is a double edged sword, because it reminds me of how completely absent I am from my “old” life. Even though the visceral discomfort of missing home was honestly stifling, it was hard to feel like I had anything else to do. Besides the bars, everything in Montevideo closes pretty early in the evening. I can’t just pop over to Second Wind to hang out with friends, or even alone (someone you know will always show up at Second Wind). Coupled with the kinda-sorta Catholicism of the city, I’m pretty sure I didn’t see a single tourist during “la Semana de Turismo.” It was dead here, and I felt trapped in the house.
I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now that I make a point to be open and candid about my mental health. I have depression. It sucks. If you don’t have it, you don’t understand it. I’m not trying to be harsh or exclusionary, but it’s just the truth. You don’t understand the pervasive emptiness that strikes for no reason, or gloms onto an existing emotional crisis. I’m not sure which came first, the depression chicken or the homesickness egg (that was the worst analogy I have ever made and I’m so sorry), but the honest truth is that I’ve spent the last few days feeling like crap. It might not make sense, but all of this has made me feel like I’m not doing study abroad the “right” way. I’m not up to every party or event, but skipping just makes me feel guilty. Depression is like FOMO on crack – you can’t fathom the idea of actually doing something, but there’s no way to explain to other people why you weren’t there.
I’m putting this all in a blog post because I’m not going to wait and just post the shiny, happy moments of my life here. I’m missing home so hard that it hurts, but it’s not like I can drop thousands of dollars and waste a semester to fly back just because I’m bored. So that’s that.
It hasn’t all been bad. On Friday night, we went to a tiny but very adorable and reasonably priced bar near our apartment to watch Brasil play Uruguay. I was pretty much assuming that we were going to lose, but we actually tied. The environment of watching a fútbol match surrounded by native South Americans is unparalleled, and I can’t wait to actually go to the Uruguay vs. Peru game on Tuesday. (We already bought face paint. We don’t mess around with team spirit in this house, okay?)
Life here is different. This week, it hasn’t been easy. Next week, it might go back to funny, and if it does, I have a post planned about all the things I’ve had to adjust to here. I don’t know what to expect, but I know the routine of going back to class will help. And no matter how shitty I feel, I know that my closest loved ones are just a Facebook message away.