Lo bueno, si es breve, dos veces bueno

Ashley Simmons
May 20, 2016

Roughly translating to: What’s good, and brief, is then twice as good. 

When my professor said this in class, I felt my face flush with heat and a shiver crawl its way up my spine as the moment felt like further proof of me accepting an undeniable reality. No matter how much we want things to happen forever, everything ends. 

She proceeded to explain that we may not in fact actually want good things for such extended periods of time, out of fear of getting bored with them or finding them overall exhausting.  In the heat of the moment, I wanted to deny this wholeheartedly —  there was no way I could ever get tired of being in a good place. Why would I ever want to intentionally place myself in something difficult? However, this seems to be exactly what I always do. I challenge myself, make myself uncomfortable, adjust and reform and reshape myself to new, unfamiliar environments. I throw myself into the mass of a mess and make sense out of all of the silence in the chaos. I take something small and seemingly powerless and turn it into something golden and powerful. Even though I wanted to outrightly deny that everything good is better when it’s brief, I would have been lying to myself, and as we all know by now, I quite value my honesty (albeit a bit brutal at times). 

Time spent in Granada has taught me to take life as a delicacy. That not everything has to be consumed so wholly and in such large quantities in my oh-so-American way. Instead, it’s the pleasure in the little things that can be remembered twice, thrice, four times over, as being wondrous and full of that “Tumblr-esque" wanderlust. 

Sitting in my room at home now (without a large shrimp lo mein this time, much to my chagrin), is actually exactly what I needed. I missed my family more than I thought I did (though I knew I did quite a bit) and it’s refreshing to feel the warmth of them next to me again and hear the sounds of them throughout the house. Refreshing even to hear the sounds of myself in my own home, maybe louder than I should be, almost as if to say, I am here and I am glad to be. 

I found myself doing this same thing in Granada through my personality, my smile, my laugh, my desire to try new things and to not be forgotten as a soul that was once, and always will be, present. In the words of the song by Beyonce that I always listen to when leaving a place, “I was here. I lived. I loved. I was here, I did, I've done, everything that I wanted. And it was more than I thought it would be. I will leave my mark so everyone will know, I was here.” 

To any of my friends from my time abroad reading this blog, or even to my lovely professors who dedicated so much time to helping me, or anyone else from IES Abroad (really, thank you all), I hope you all know how much I will forever appreciate the presence you had and will always have in my life and in this place we coveted together. I hope that in some way, shape, or form I was able to make a positive mark, press a little further in the right direction, push a smile onto a face that didn’t think it could manage one for the day. 

Everything has its time. And it is this small, simple fact that keeps the world turning on its axis. People, things, places — they all come and go for either a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We must thank them for their reasons, for the seasons they bestowed upon us, for the lifetime they will forever influence. 

Realistically, there are some people I came across in my time abroad that I will probably never see again in person. These people will become the caretakers of my better and worse memories, ones that are exclusive only to their eyes and souls, and I the caretaker of their own. Granada will always be a place we will share collectively, in our own unique ways. It will be a city that beckons us, and calls us back like an old lover, holding onto what was once a rampant fire. Another saying from my Spanish professor that I haphazardly scribbled into my journal upon hearing: Donde hubo fuego, cenizas quedan. Where there was fire, ashes remain. 

I will never forget Granada. I will never forget the places I got lost and found in, the spaces I created myself in. The spaces and people I unveiled myself whole and fleshy and even more than this to. And even though it is all in these after moments, quite bittersweet, it is better to have wandered and had a taste of the world, letting the flavor linger on my tongue, than to go without it, wondering all along. 

Thank you. 

P.S. I decided to end this post and consequently my study abroad blog with my second poem about Granada. This makes this post superrrr long, pero no pasa nada will live on en mi corazon y alma por siempre. 

Granada Part II: Proserpina

i moved like 
phases of the moon
through a city with
glimmering sidewalks

wondering where and when
my skin and self fit amongst
its hushed chaos.

in the amphitheater,
bathed wine red from
walls’ passionate eyes,
they stomped and struck their pain
in percussions

we all ate the oranges off the trees,
knew they'd be bitter, but hungered for
whatever sweetness might momentarily grace our tongues

pero todo lo bueno se acaba,
and we only found it
in the aftertaste,
the sharp tongue-twisting twang of terracotta.
walked through midnights
inappropriately clothed but close.

somehow this air knows me,
wraps its arms and legs around
and locks me into a pleasant stronghold,
like Persephone through its seeds

yes, i ate the pomegranate
& i bathed in her pulp
came out with different skin
eyes and hands ladened with sights and feelings of
worlds that had always been there
but never seen by me

yes, i ate the pomegranate
& the four month condemnation to that Hell was the most Glorious
& though it too caused my mother pain for me to be away so long
if you told me to not eat the fruit out of fear of being stuck there
i would tell you as Persephone did:

my eyes glazed over warm with water from Motril
& mouth moistened as
something in my fingers itched,
an ache crawled on the inside of my skull,
clapped again with the Flamenco for more, more
and i could not resist,
i did not dare want to.
that place, it called for me to come.
and so i did.

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Ashley Simmons

Ashley is the 2015-16 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! A 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.

2016 Spring
Home University:
Brandeis University
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