Kel, outbound to Paraguay

I'm currently sitting in my room and unable to stop thinking. I have been reflecting my exchange and how quickly it does go by. I arrived in Paraguay on August 8th and I will be departing my new home on June 15th, which is in 49 days. I will be returning to hot weather something I am all too familiar with here in Paraguay, sandy beaches I have missed and returning to my family.

What Rotary doesn't tell you is how attached you will get to your new home. When you are on exchange the word goodbye becomes too frequent. You say goodbye to friends who leave to go home, host families that have taken you under their wing, saying good bye to classmates, and saying goodbye to your fellow exchanger's at inbound camps not knowing if you will see them for the next one or see them ever again.

Reflecting on my time here in Paraguay I have been thinking about the places I have seen, the people I've met and the experiences I have experienc ed that will stay with me forever. I have met the most amazing people on my exchanged, and I have been to places I have never dreamed of. Rotary has given me such an amazing opportunity to explore the world, and learn about a culture first hand, and for that I am entirely grateful. You will have your bad days, and you will run into some difficulties along your exchange but its how you choose to deal with them that makes the difference.

You will have days when you are lying in bed wondering why you went on exchange, you will question if you want to stay or go home. There will be days where you will want to, cry, and binge watch a season on Netflix, trust me I have done all of these things, and that's okay. Its not a bad thing to want to be alone for a little while. If there is one thing I have learned on my exchange is that its okay to make mistakes, its okay that you don't know the language fluently, its okay to ask for help, its the fact that you are trying everyd ay to get better than the day before that counts.

It goes by so quickly and if you don't spend it wisely I am sure in the future you will regret it. Your experience that you are given is YOURS not anyone else's, its not your parents exchange, your friends, Rotary's, its yours so seize it. Make every opportunity to explore your new home for what it truly is and be free. May the wind blow you on a path you never would have seen. Explore places you never thought of exploring, and be a part of a culture that you will learn to fall in love with instantly, and for that is the magic of exchange.

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