Suddenly part of me that had felt dead rose up inside of me again. I was home! I grinned whenever little men on tractors crawled past me on busy roads. Tears sprung to my eyes as I walked among the foothills of the rugged mountains. My heart felt warmed by the sight of communist block style housing and unfinished buildings dotting the landscape. I even (sort of) welcomed being stared at everywhere I went, because it meant I was back in these closed countries.
People think I'm absurd, traveling around to these places that most people never want to step foot into. Things are so backwards, so corrupt, so difficult, and so crazy on so many levels here. But to me, all I can respond with is that I love each country, because I've fallen in love with so many people in each location. Yes, I know that Greece doesn't like Macedonia, and that Macedonia doesn't like Kosovo, and that Kosovo doesn't like Serbia, and that Serbia doesn't like Bosnia, and that Montenegro doesn't like Albania... But I deeply love people from each of these places, and to me, that makes each of them special, worth visiting, and definitely a beautiful part of my heart.
In three days I'm leaving here. I don't know what the immediate future holds for me. I just know that I'm headed back to the US soon. Will I be back here anytime soon? Can I see my friends again? Is part of me going to die again as I leave this time? I don't know, and I have no answers. It's hard to leave these places and people I dearly love! I know I get to see my family and friends soon, and that is worth a lot. But it's hard that being with them now always means painful goodbyes.