Finally back at home, in my childhood bedroom, looking at familiar walls and faces and nightstand decorations, I don’t quite know what to feel…or who to be. In the words of a Hozier song, “All Things End”, and I find myself listening quite a lot to that one song—a song at the very end of a playlist my friends and I made to commemorate all of the little memories and moments throughout this whole semester in Granada. To be completely honest, I saved listening to that playlist until the last possible moment, to the last journey to the airport and the last plane ride back to the U.S. It felt like it would be the lid on the box, or the final page of a book before you tuck it away forever, and I didn’t want that moment to come. But whether I wanted it to or not, it did. That final flight arrived, the final step off of Spanish ground happened, and the final note of the playlist played in my ears. And it felt like I woke up from a dream.
During the past few weeks, I kept having this recurring sensation that once I left Spain it would feel almost like a fairy tale or something that I made up. As the end of the program quickly approached, my most prominent emotions were those of excitement to be able to see my North Carolina friends and family again, but also the feeling that everything I had gotten used to for 5 months was slipping away. It was hard to bounce between the two emotions or even process them because of how fast paced my last few weeks had become. I resolutely set about doing the last few activities and visiting the last few destinations I had on my bucket list, all while the end crept towards me.
I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to properly enjoy my last few days in Spain because of my fear of change and of things coming to a close, but as time passed and the clock ticked, I started to feel more and more content with the ending of this chapter in my life. I had lived each week to the fullest I could; I tried things far outside of my comfort zone; and I was the most independent I had ever been in my life. I never thought I would be traveling on my own, much less living in another country and speaking another language. I grew so much over the course of the semester in ways I could never have expected.
On the final night of the program, all of the students and staff from this semester’s cohort in IES Abroad Granada got together for one last gathering to share stories and conversations about everything we had done for the last few months. Words were shared, tears were cried, and hugs were given. As the final songs started to play and the night sky got darker, rain started to pour just outside. There was a moment when everyone seemed to turn to each other with a single shared expression…and then everyone ran out into the rain, dresses, button-ups and all. In that moment, with water pouring down, music blasting, and everyone dancing and singing their hearts out, I felt that in a whirl my semester had come to an end…and that it was okay: I was happy.
So as I sit on my childhood bed surrounded by knick-knacks and memories from each year of my life, I may not know who I should be or where I’m headed, but I do know that I can be happy. I can unpack the suitcase, clean out my backpack, and tuck away the memories. And most importantly, I can embrace the person I’ve become and the things that I’ve learned, and take a little piece of Granada with me into the rest of my life.
Hasta luego, España. I hope to see you again soon.
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Hola! My name is Adah and I am a junior at North Carolina State University currently studying in Granada, Spain! Though my major is Biology, I have a passion for all things art and Spanish, and you can most likely find me sketching away during the late hours of the night. My current obsessions are gouache paints, crochet, and watching local birds! I'm so excited to share my time exploring Granada with all of you.