Today, I did something that I thought would be a lot harder than it actually was. I shoved someone I love dearly onto an international flight, and I walked away. Sure, I'll get him back. I'll call him the same name I did when I said "see you later" (since "goodbye" is a swear word). I'll never really see the same PERSON again, though. This is something my mom experienced when she sent me on my first P2P trip to Australia in 2004. She had been told that I would still be her daughter, but I'd change a little. I'd become more mature, more independent, but the things that made me who I am (my quirks) should still remain intact. Once you send someone over international borders, they change forever... a little bit.
My wonderful loulou (that's slang for boyfriend) is spending some time in Guatemala to learn Spanish. He's not having much luck learning in the classroom (not everyone can do it), so in a last ditch effort, we're shipping him off to Central America to learn it in immersion classes for a month. He wants to be a police officer, and speaking more than one language fluently is a big plus for that field. Where we live (and of course, where he wants to work), Spanish would be more helpful than any other language. He says that I'd have a better shot getting into the local department than he would simply because I have two languages under my belt while he only has one.
"Babe, when's the last time you heard about the French-Canadians coming down and making a ruckus of things?!"
I digress. The boyfriend is currently an Explorer (think "Jr. Cop") with our local department, which means he is expected to help out with the department for a certain number of hours per month, and to "ride out" with officers on shifts for a certain number of hours per month. On his last ride out, his unit (boyfriend and officer) were the first responders to an altercation that ultimately resulted with the victim being transported to the hospital for treatment (the perpetrators had fled the scene by the time the unit had arrived), and the victim's family only spoke Spanish, which my boyfriend and the officer he was with spoke none of. They radioed for a translator, and had to wait for 30 minutes for one to arrive. My boyfriend told me that he felt helpless. The whole situation would have gone a lot smoother if he'd already spoken SOME Spanish. So he's trying to adapt.
He's got to be the bravest person I know. He's certainly braver than I am! He's doing the one thing I would NEVER in a million years do: Go to a foreign country for any length of time without speaking the language. Shoot, I'm pretty fluent, and I'm still relatively scared of going to France...
As for "letting him go," it's something that had to be done. Think about what I'm doing to him! He's going to Guatemala for a month. I'm going to France for FOUR. I don't get to complain. My boyfriend understood what I had to do in order to further my career when it came to higher education. I'm 350 miles away from home as it is. We were together in high school, and I applied to the local four-year. I got in, and I told him I'd go there to stay closer to home. He told me he'd break up with me if I stayed local, because we both knew I needed to go to the school I go to now. To put himself ahead of the crowd for a job at a police department, he needs to learn Spanish, so he goes to Guatemala.
The most important part of any relationship (friend, family, or lover) is communication. With that communication comes understanding of one another's situation, and the necessity of compromise. Do I like being 350 miles away from my boyfriend most of the year? Nope. But I know I have to do it. He knows I have to do it. Do either of us really want me to go to France for four months? Not when we take into account how far away we have to be from each other. But we both understand how important it is for my career as a college student, and for my life experiences. Do I want him to go to Guatemala right before I have to go to France (he gets back 10 days before I leave)? Yes! If it means he's going to learn Spanish and be that much closer to getting his dream job, of course I do. So I kissed him goodbye, told him I loved him, came home, wrote him an email, sent it, and then I wrote this post.
You do crazy things for the ones you love. You do those crazy things because you love them. I let him go to Guatemala. He's letting me go to France. Notice how I say that, but our parents pay for it... Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Petit ami, et moi Circa Jan. 2011... We really don't take a lot of pictures together.
Le plus grand faible des hommes, c'est l'amour qu'ils ont de la vie. -Molière