I am writing my final post on my flight back home after having landed in Atlanta with a short layover. Being back in the United States, even just in the airport, was pretty startling. I found myself instinctively speaking in Spanish, saying “hola” and “permiso” to all the TSA agents and customs officers. I will definitely miss speaking in Spanish so regularly and I hope that I can find ways to keep using the vocabulary and lingo I have latched on to. Cell phone use and accessible wifi are also very strange. While I’m more conscious of my wifi use, it also feels natural to go back on social media. However, I am more aware of how many people are only looking at their screens and not speaking to the people around them. I hope that I don’t fall back into constantly looking at things on my phone and can be more patient with, engaged in, and thoughtful about my surroundings, like I felt like I was in Havana.
Some more positive impressions upon returning: fooood. I was both incredibly overwhelmed and so satisfied by the variety of food options in the airport and by how quickly I was able to get food. Another plus is water fountains and bathrooms with toilet paper. Reveling in these seemingly small things which I had always taken for granted is both funny and incredibly evident of the differences between Cuba and the United States. Its a reminder of ‘la lucha’ in Cuba, of how complicated it is for people to attain things like toilet paper.
Now that I have left Cuba I wonder how long it will take me to adjust back to life in the United States and if there are some ways in which I won’t readjust. Will I lose the Spanish that I’ve learned or drop the new habits I’ve picked up? I think to a degree I will but I also think that the perspective I’ve gained from living in Havana will change the way I experience a lot of things that I took for granted in my daily life at home and school. Time, which I considered a lot about in the beginning of the trip, passed so quickly, especially at the end. I don’t feel a complete sense of closure about studying abroad, but the things I’ve learned have given me a lot to reflect upon and be conscious of in my daily life back home.