Aimee Uitermarkt


Happiness can come in many ways, shapes, or forms.
Some of them can be simple,
Like receiving emails from family full of
Kind words and well wishes
That just scream “I MISS YOU” but also
Say “I’m so glad you’re having such a good time.”

Small successes such as not crying after class
And finally mustering up the confidence
To hold an actual conversation with
Your host family in complete Spanish.
Or even when your host-grandmother gives
You just the slightest bit of attention,
Asking question after question in attempt
To get to know you, reminding you
Of your grandmothers back home.
Hearing her ask one of your little host-sisters
How to say your name, and hearing her
Repeat it time after time in attempt to get it right,
So that she can call you by name,
And not just “chica” or “la chica americana”.
Watching her care for her family, clean the house,
Room by room, cook them more than enough food,
And make sure nobody leaves hungry.
Even her lightly tapping you on the bottom
In order to get your attention,
Just as your own grandmother would.
Or even when one of your little host-sisters
Says the simplest “Feliz día de San Valentín, Aimee”
To you on Valentine’s Day, just so you know
That somebody cares about you, when you feel
Like you are a million miles away from
The ones that you love.

Happiness is meeting somebody from your home state
While you are in a foreign country,
Or spending the afternoon in a local café,
Just being and allowing your mind to roam,
While the tornado that is life continues for everyone else
Just outside the front door.
It is talking to your favorite barista,
In your favorite local coffee shop,
Practicing your Spanish on him in hopes to one day
Master a conversation without having to ask
“How do you say ___?”, but also
Knowing that he is patient with you
There is no pressure to be perfect. He is more than
Happy to help. Someday you will figure it out.

Happiness is so much more than smiling.
It is being and feeling that everything is awesome
Or at least that everything is going to be okay.
Happiness is learning and growing,
And allowing yourself to be
Wander-fully lost, but in the best way,
And embracing it for what it is,
Rather than for what you are not.

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