Saying Goodbye

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Ella Rivera
January 4, 2024

How do you begin to say goodbye when a place has just become home. I knew that it would be hard but I didn't imagine feeling this nostalgic and I haven’t even touched American soil yet. I’m excited to go home, of course, to have all the comfort and luxuries I had before getting to Spain. But now the thought of leaving is the harder burden to bear. I’ve traveled a lot for my mere 24 years of living and I make it a priority in my life. I love Europe and come back every year to explore and maintain relationships. But this experience was something completely different. Probably for the first time in my life, I truly feel like I appreciated this time to its fullest. Often when you're in a new place you get into a routine and comfortable and forget to challenge yourself. Maybe by no means of my own, I was challenged even in my routine and comfortably. I had to constantly grow and push myself to be present and live fully. If what I had envisioned had failed then I had to adapt to keep pushing forward. I couldn’t afford not to. I’ve had many vision boards for my time here and I think every one of them got scrapped. And for that, I’m grateful because I learned how to be content, hell even joyful, and thriving in and out of all my circumstances. Often we chase happiness. But happiness is a high, happiness is fleeting. Joy or contentment is what I’m after. To be fully content or satisfied was my goal, regardless of whether I was drowning in school, missing home, or going through some turmoil with friends. Despite that, I was able to be just that, content in my place, content in who I am. Maybe it’s the perfect blue Granada sky that takes my reason to be blue. But I've fallen in love with my place and with the person I’ve grown to be here. Life seems simpler here. Maybe it’s all due to the freshness and newness of everything. Honestly, the idea of going home scares me a little. Not even that I was a bad version of myself but that person was stuck in a bunch of different circumstances. And I can’t go back to her. I realize now I had grown complacent in my life, wanting things that weren’t real desires, just wanting them because everyone else was headed that way. I forgot what it was like to have drive and ambition, to have selfish, wishful dreams that would whisk me away from everything I knew. But this time away has done just that. I was whisked away and all the fire that had been quieted by complacency has come roaring forward.

Vicky asked me once why I cared so much about my name, why it mattered because it clearly held a lot of weight for me. I have several nicknames and had a hard time identifying with just one. I didn't have an answer then. But I have one now, and the response to that question has changed as well. I so strongly needed an identity in my name because I had lost who I was and was grasping at anything to bring me back. My new response… it doesn’t matter what name I go by. If you know me by whatever nickname that won’t be your main takeaway when meeting me. I’ve found my identity with no name. So if you meet me and forget my name, here’s what you won’t forget. You won’t forget that this girl has passion and drive, she has a caring loving soul that longs to connect with people. And she has a ravenous desperation to spread that as far as the eye can see and as wide as the world will offer. 

I feel as though I’m writing the last sentences of a book. Tying up loose ends but more importantly, having new ideas for what I want my next book to look like. I’ve been trying to close this last chapter for such a long time so with some faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust I can’t wait to start writing. 

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Ella Rivera headshot

Ella Rivera

I love to learn about history and other cultures which is why I chose to study in Europe. Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies.I am an avid coffee drinker my go to drink is a coldbrew lemonade which is a specialty from the coffeeshop I work at.

2023 Fall
Home University:
Penn State University
Global Studies
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