I spent a great part of the year thinking:
“I want to go home.”
“I wish I was home.”
“What am I doing here?”
And now that life has granted my wish and put me on a plane straight home without hesitation, I do not want to go. Rather, I did not want to go, but I had no choice.
For the last four years, I have not been a regular college student. With all the responsibilities and obligations that come with being a student-athlete, such as waking up before the sun rises, forgetting the meaning of a weekend and living in a constant state of soreness.
I was ready to embark on a different journey. Since I started college, I have been waiting for the last couple of months of my senior year. With the basketball season ending in March, I wanted to experience being just a student, without the word “athlete” attached.
The word excited wasn’t enough to describe my feelings. I had plenty of things planned with what seemed like no roadblocks in my way. It would all start on March 12 with my trip to Universal Studios and continue with my birthday celebration as soon as I got back. That would quickly be followed by a visit to a couple of my friends’ houses.
Or so I thought…
A couple of months ago, I heard talk about the coronavirus, but I continued on with my life without much concern.
I continued to do my thing, but this whole COVID-19 thing kept popping up. First in China, then in Italy, Iran. Oh no, next was Spain —my home. Finally the United States was affected. It seemed impossible to stop.
Things were getting worse day by day. I quickly saw myself cutting days off my trip to Florida, only to return to celebrate my birthday in a hotel parking lot (still fun, if you ask me) and having to cancel my visits with my friends.
I saw myself experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety with all the uncertainty surrounding every aspect of my life. Were in-person classes getting cancelled for good? Were airports shutting down? Was my family okay? Should I stay? Should I go?
At one point, my friend from England and I looked at each other and said, “We’re going home.”
In a matter of days, I packed everything, hopped on a plane and left my adventure in America behind.
Now, I am writing from home with a mixture of emotions.
I’m so sad. This is not how it was supposed to be. I’m so mad. I did not get to say goodbye to all the people I care about. I’m so disappointed. I still had so much I wanted to do in America. I was not finished — I don’t think anyone was.
Looking back, I said, “I want to go home,” so many times. Now it feels as if the world is punishing me for it.
Of course, people are facing way bigger problems than myself, who has to finish my studies in another country. But this is my reality and probably the reality of other international students across the globe.
I hate the feeling of having unfinished business, but there is nothing myself or anybody can do.
Now, with 358,735 cases and 15,433 deaths of coronavirus worldwide (a number which is increasing by the minute), according to the Worldometer, we can only hope it stops at some point.
We need to do our part: stay home and send a lot of strength and gratitude to the ones fighting the virus.
Until next time, America.