Dear Señora Café Internet,
I hope this letter finds you well. How I miss you so. It seems like just yesterday we met, as I settled into of San Juan La Laguna this September. I fondly recall your welcoming smile at the Café Internet. A month gone by, I regret to inform you our times together are no mas.
As you know, I am an estudiante travelling with a group of others, called dragones. What you may not know is that we will not be returning to San Juan La Laguna…atleast not soon.
Saying goodbye, we parted with our newfound community, our oh so patient Spanish maestros, and our loving homestay families. Amongst the chaos, we packed our 60L maletas to the encima (a challenging task we know well). It seems we had little time to fit in all the goodbyes, hugs, and zapatos. Looking back, I see my errors and what was falta.
You see, I thought I closed the chapter with my new found home completely. I walked the calles, finding peace in my final glimpses. As I tried not to slip on the slippery streams forming on the cobblestone, I savored my last views of the lush montañas, the bright CRUSH refresco sign, and the twisted telephone lines above. I laughed, recalling how foreign this seemed a month ago. Now, I felt comfort walking through the playful cancha, the fragrant mercado, the bustling SuperQuick, the too-tiny alleyways, and the comotion filled sidewalks. Thanks to Claritin, I even grew to love the looming woodfire smoke every morning.
And of course, I gave my last hugs to my familia. Playing my last games of bancopoly, I exchanged my gratitude and trinkets from my home. I painted my last round of sparkly uñas with my youngest hermana, gossiped boy drama about the famous futbol jugadores with my other hermana, and treasured the last time of my mom commencing dinner with “Hay tortillas”. With abrazos, besos, and possibly damp cheeks, I said “Adios, nos vemos”.
I did everything. Or so I thought.
After our departure, I felt unsettled. Looking back, I know why. I did not get a chance to say goodbye to the people behind the scenes- most integral to my experience. The unsung heros who impacted me in the littlest ways.
So, here’s to you, Señora de la Café Internet. I wanted to say thank you for being there in my times of greatest trial and tribulation. Through it all, you offered a helping hand. Whether scrambling with the Skype microfono or adjusting the crooked removable camera, you never failed to keep your tranquilo. It was solely you who could fix any problem with La Red in a matter of seconds. When I felt lost and desperate, you leaned over my shoulder directing me to “send” button on Gmail. In times of no hope, you gave me 10 extra minutes to peruse YouTube to listen to the comforts of my dad’s band back home.
Not to mention, you truly have seen it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Upon my arrival and first emails from home, you saw the instant and uncontrollable waterfall of lagrimas as I logged on for the first time. As I received results about the State tennis tournament, you witnessed me jump out of my chair in exultation (apologies to the rest of the café internet). After US elections, you watched as the entire group crowd my computer to commentate on the final ballots. In my desperate hours, you graciously let me use your private baño in the back.
So thank you, Señora. You gave me my family, friends, music, and quite possibly my sanity during my journey in San Juan La Laguna. While I may not know much about you other than your regular 1pm lunch break time and your favorite Ricardo Arjona song to play over the loud speaker, I do know that you always offered your time, your patience, and your smile. I am going to miss arriving at your doorway, out of breath from the uphill climb, and seeing your bright and feliz face from behind your desk. You have given me more than just 10 minute incremented internet; you have shown me, a novice first time homesick traveler, the beauty in small gestures and acts of kindness. Ahora, I truly know the comfort of something as simple as a greeting of “Buenos Dias, ?como estas? or a mere presence of having someone there with you, even if Skype proves to be “no cargando”. This is farewell. Thank you for brightening my days in San Juan La Laguna. I will never forget it.
Muchas gracias, Señora.