Since I’ve been a student at Chewonki, the hardest thing I’ve had to do was not making new friends, waking up early for farm chores, or work programs. It was leaving. On Sunday morning, after a long day of catching up with our families on Saturday, it was time to go home. I was excited for a week without classes, but I wasn’t looking forward to spending that week anywhere other than in Wiscasset. But at about 8:30 that morning, I met my parents in the dining hall with my bags packed, ready to leave (ready as I would ever be, that is). After saying long goodbyes to all my friends and teachers, we were on our way.
When we were driving through my neighborhood on the way to my house, sadness began to emerge as I saw those all too familiar houses. My dad asked me, “Does it feel weird to be back?” The only thing I could say without showing signs that I was upset was “Yeah.” We pulled into the driveway, walked up the steps, and I went inside my house. I looked around and was amazed at how small everything felt. I walked right up to my room, put down my bags, and began to cry. Nothing had changed, but it felt so different. It was such a strange feeling; it takes a lot to make me cry, and yet, I don’t really even know why it was happening.
Luckily, I have a few things to be happy about/grateful for. First and foremost, I can remind myself that being a student at Chewonki has been the most worthwhile experience of my life, no matter how hard it was to say goodbye. Second, I’ll be returning in only six days to see my friends’ smiling faces again. When all the students return, we still have two and a half weeks to go until our semester comes to a close, and for that I am truly thankful. But the second time I have to leave, that time for good, will be nearly impossible. I’m so glad that my family and my friends at home have been so understanding and accommodating.
When I’m feeling the most down, I just think of this Dr. Seuss quote that I’ve kept in the back of my mind for the past few days: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
-Tom Foley, Waterbury, CT