A Letter from Mariam Gachechiladze

Mariam Gachechiladze, Junior Reporter

A Letter to MSHS,

As exchange students, we worry about adapting to our new society; adapting and making friends, good impressions, overcoming the language barriers that, at times, makes it so hard for us to speak up, take the first step and be ourselves to a full extent. As exchange students, we worry about finding our safe space where we can feel wholly comfortable, confident and free. We worry about the way we speak, communicate, smile or walk. We worry because we only have a year and we want to make that year count.

The night before departing the US, I was thinking about how fast it all happened. Suddenly, every moment of my journey flashed through my eyes and made me feel immensely joyful that I decided to embark on this adventure, overcome my worst fears and insecurities, decide to take the leap despite my worst doubts, experience my happiest moments to the fullest and make something out the not-so-happy ones. I felt pure joy, but then I felt melancholic, melancholic and sad that all of it was about to end in a way that not a single person could have expected. Sad about the very fact that on my very last day in Manitou Springs High School I said no goodbyes, as I didn’t even know it would be my last.

Life happens, and with great joys, it brings us scary things that we just have to deal with, tough situations we have to be flexible enough to adapt to and unanticipated circumstances that we have to at least try to make the best of. Choosing to leave America was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make as it meant leaving my amazing host family, Manitou Springs community,  the incredible high school which made me feel so welcomed, my American friends who have become one of my absolute favorite people in the world and the teachers who have been so amazingly supportive and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Leaving was tough, but I believe it was the right thing to do considering all the craziness that is going on in the world right now. It is a weird, scary time and all of us need to be at home with our families

to support and lift each other up. COVID-19 will pass, and we will come out being more resilient, cherishing the time spent with our loved ones and appreciating the beauty and simplicity of our very normal and very ordinary everyday life that we at times fail to appreciate.

I want to say a huge thank you to the entire school for helping me craft the most awesome experience I could have been a part of. I will always consider Manitou my second home and a place I want to keep revisiting forever. Thank you, and I will see you later!

With Big Love,

Mariam 🙂