Halfway(ish) Point: Resting, Reflecting, and Looking Forward

carmen miller headshot
Carmen Miller
March 31, 2024
Photo of me, seen from behind, taking a picture of the roman theatre in Carthage

With the end of spring break, I’m officially over halfway through my semester abroad. On the one hand, it feels like I’ve been in Granada forever, and on the other I’m stunned by how quickly it feels like time is passing. 

Spring break was a much-needed reset, and I was lucky enough that my mom and brother were able to visit me (sadly, my dad couldn’t make it). I had so much fun showing them around Granada—getting to be a tour guide of sorts made me realize how much of the city I’ve gotten to explore and how confident I’ve become navigating it, in stark contrast to the beginning of the semester when I got lost walking home for lunch (yes, really. More than once). It also brought me back to those first few weeks when everything was new and exciting and/or terrifying, so seeing how much I feel at home in Granada now was incredible. And I was reminded of how much I enjoy discovering new corners of the city, something I’m definitely going to make sure to continue doing. We spent part of the break in Cartagena, and I really enjoyed both having a new place to explore with people I love and getting to spend some days doing nothing in particular—the rest was definitely needed. I think it’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on day-to-day, so a break and interrupting the routine was nice as a way to rest and reflect on the first half of the semester.

I dropped my family off at the train station on Saturday so they could go to Madrid to catch a flight home, and as I walked to the taxi stand I found myself remembering the last time I’d walked out of the train station in Granada. In January, I followed a crowd of people off a train and into the taxi line, weighed down with everything I’d brought for the semester, then spent the 10-minute taxi ride to my homestay feeling more and more anxious to meet my host mom and wondering, with excitement and dread, what the semester would be like. By the time the taxi pulled up, I was actually a bit shaky as I texted my host mom that I was outside. 

This time, I walked confidently out to the taxi stand, carrying just the water bottle I’d almost left in the rental car and the bright pink emergency umbrella we’d had to buy after a gust of wind destroyed my mom’s, and I spent the 10-minute taxi ride to my homestay marveling at how different it felt. As much as I enjoyed spring break, I was really happy to be back in Granada. I found myself thinking of my destination as “home,” not “my host mom’s apartment,” and I didn’t need to look at a hastily-scrawled scrap of paper to tell the driver the address. As I looked out the window, I found I was actively recognizing landmarks rather than just staring in amazement at the wide variety of shops along the route. And while my hands did shake as I unlocked the door to the apartment building, it was just the unseasonably cold wind and rain.

While I’m looking forward to getting back into classes, I’m definitely feeling a bit sad to realize that my remaining time in Granada is dwindling. At my summer camp, I often heard, “don’t count the days, make the days count.” Cheesy? Sure. But I think the sentiment—focusing on finding value in the time you have rather than just fixating on the time itself—is really important, and it’s something I’ve been trying to do this semester. There’s lots of schoolwork on the horizon, obviously, but I have some projects that I’m really excited about doing and I’m looking forward to continuing the interesting material we’ve been working with. I have some fun adventures planned for the next few weekends—I’m taking a few trips and I have a friend coming to visit. I’m also really looking forward to settling back into some of my favorite spots in Granada and finding new ones.  

It’s both surprising and wonderful to see how far I’ve come this semester, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the semester goes!

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carmen miller headshot

Carmen Miller

I’m a Comparative Literature major at Haverford College with an interest in how cultures and stories interact with each other. I love baking, writing, hiking, and exploring new places. And I can never resist the siren song of a good library!

2024 Spring
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Haverford College
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