Last week, right before Semana Santa, I purchased yet another journal here in Spain. Somehow I’ve been filling my journals rapidly with thoughts that come from wherever, whenever. My first journal read, “disfrutar de las pequeñas cosas en la vida”, which means “enjoy the little things in life”. The second, “Adelante! Cómete el mundo!”, which means “Forward! Eat the world!”. Though I picked the journals up more so because of how they looked as opposed to what they said, (at the time I actually wasn’t exactly sure what they said) each translation has had an ironically appropriate place in my life in the time that I wrote in the journal. I’ll come back to this later.
(Now, I have to admit that I am currently writing in the last two simultaneously, as I just can’t seem to write in one journal and take any opportunity to write whenever I can. Napkins and paper bags find themselves victim sometimes, too. I don’t discriminate.)
Somehow, my study abroad experience has blessed me with not only experiences and viajes here in Spain, but even further. For Semana Santa this past week, I traveled with a group of my friends to Treviso and Venice, Italy and Paris, France. This is not something I can just casually say. I traveled with a group of my friends to Treviso and Venice, Italy and Paris, France. To be completely honest, I’m still processing it all.
One of my favorite parts of traveling, besides experiencing different cultures and food, is experiencing the different voices of various cities and countries. Treviso sounded a lot like places I’d been at home, a more suburban, laidback vibe with the chaos encompassed in the club my friends and I went to on Thursday night. Venice was like something straight out of book and videogame all at once (Literally, Venice was Assassin’s Creed right before my eyes). And Paris felt the most like home, a strange reconfiguration of New York City and Washington D.C. all at once. It makes sense that I felt so at ease navigating Paris’ streets, considering the architecture of both NYC and D.C. come from Paris. I stood in front of the Eiffel Tower in awe (still not fully sure I actually did this, I could have been dreaming). And in a very cliche way, I have to say the Eiffel Tower was absolutely breathtaking. I rounded the final corner to it, after a long walk from the Louvre (like the Capitol Building in D.C., the Eiffel Tower appears to be very close to you from a given spot in Paris. This is not true. It is a lie. A 980 foot tall lie.), knees and back aching but happy to be in a place with good weather and good vibes (AND THE BEST CROISSANT(S) OF MY LIFETIME).
Right before my trips for Semana Santa, I purchased my second journal, appropriately going off to eat the world, and after traveling so many times to so many places in Spain and beyond, I am happy to call myself a Traveler. Traveling has been in fact one of the most amazing, unexpected joys of my 20th year. I didn’t realize how much I love traveling until I got on the plane here to Spain. Yet, as with anything, my love for going from place to place and person to person comes with it’s downsides as much as its upsides.
A friend from home once told me traveling could be difficult because you’re never sure where to lay your roots, or whether or not to invest into the people or places you encounter because the moments and minutes are only so momentary. This is definitely something I’ve struggled with here in Spain, especially two days ago when my professor mentioned that we only have 6 weeks left in this program, and it feels like we just got here yesterday.
Still, I think that the message from my first journal now comes into play. Enjoy the little things in life. These moments may be momentary, but they are also monolithic. Each experience helps me create and explore a new part of myself, and though I may soon be saying goodbye to some of the things that have become my new “norm”, the blessing rests in being able to say hello to them at all. Not everything and everyone is meant to come and stay and we have to simply remember the good times and the beautiful moments, thank those people and places for the presence they had in our lives, and go on to new places, influencing and helping others along the way. After all, the world doesn’t stop just because we do, so why stop?
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<p>Ashley is the 2015-16 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! A <span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">Junior at Brandeis University, Ashley studies English, Creative Writing, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, as well as Creativity, The Arts and Social Transformation. On campus Ashley is an English Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Originally from Washington D.C., she enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano, playing video games, and being with her family and friends.</span></p>