I sat there, stunned, knowing that my Father was right, but I didn’t want to go. My Father knew it would be the most difficult move, I had never lived in the country side, nor did I know very much about our birth country. He took a deep breath, and explained that things were becoming more volatile, and unstable. It was no longer safe for me to stay with them in South America. I cried, I was only 16, and didn’t know what it meant to live away from my family.
The day came when we drove up to the white and green building, the sprawling campus. I fought back tears, the campus was frightening, there was too much space, not enough people. My Mother in her cheer, kept on talking, my Father silent, looked at me sideways. This was harder on him, he knew what I was terrified. Reverse culture shock would haunt me, I knew it well, I just didn’t know how much it would hit me when I didn’t have anywhere to hide.
Once again, I was the new kid, the one that stuck out. I walked into my room, my roommate had music blasting, It never dawned on me I would be sharing a room. I was paralysed, and quiet, I barely said a thing. That split moment of meeting my roommate, I knew I wouldn’t like her.
My Mother teared up, and hugged me, she said goodbye and excused herself to the car. My Father and I quietly hugged, he looked at me, and said “I know you will morph on the outside, but stay true to who you are on the inside, you know the drill.” I nodded. He knew I would split myself as usual, pretend I am one of them on the outside to feel like I fit in, meanwhile keep my true friends (the international ones), and my Diplomatic life, completely separate. My coping mechanisms were transparent to my Father.
And then, just like that, my parents were gone, and I walked back into the room to find my new roommate bumping and grinding to a really bad hip hop song.