Coming back to the US is like starting to make one of your old standard recipes and having to improvise halfway through because you don’t have all the right ingredients. Or pulling on a pair of favorite pants and realizing your body has changed since you last wore them. Or hearing for the first time a live version of a song you know by heart. No cabe exactamente al inicio, but eventually you settle in and start singing all the words without even thinking about it.
A beautiful and strange thing is how different it feels to think and speak only in english. the sudden jump back has really brought home how much I was living in Spanish for the past month- thinking, speaking, reading, writing, dreaming- and how that shifted my daily experience. A thought born in spanish is very different than a thought translated from english to spanish, and I loved how thinking in that new way somewhat changed who I was and how I interacted with the world, giving me subtly different tools to express my thoughts to myself and to others. me pregunto tambien como hablar/pensar en espanol me cambiaría (o esperamente, come me voy a cambiar) como doctora- voy a ser una doctora diferente con mis pacientes hispanohablantes? As I was weighing different residency programs and their abilities to prepare me to care for Latino patients, I thought a lot about the importance of learning cultural competency, not just language. I still obviously want to learn the culture of my patients- pero que bella que el aprender del idioma pueda ser una manera tan fuerte para convertirme en la cultura tambien!
of course i miss also all the little pieces of a new place- eating mangoes in a bag on the street, dodging camionetas, hubicandome by the volcano, cheerful haggling in the demo- but part of what made those pieces beautiful was how the unfamiliar became so quickly and then fleetingly familiar. the continuous surprise of how easily we can adapt to change.
Sobretodo, me hace triste salir, pero me hace feliz estar en mi hogar. Yo se que no puedo regresar a Guatemala, pero espero que algun día vuelva alla.