A New Concept of “Home”

Hallie Bates
June 19, 2014

Although I’ve only been in the United States for a few days now, I’ve come to realize that there are many things both in Spain and in America that I have taken for granted. I’ve been surprised at the reverse culture shock I’ve experienced since being back in my native country; I had figured that the United States would feel like home, like coming back to a country and a people I understood. Instead, I felt somewhat lost in Logan Airport. All of a sudden, I had the personal space that Spaniards didn’t seem to understand. The people around me walked quickly and with purpose, a welcome change from the “Spanish-crawl.” Despite having missed these two aspects of American culture during my time in Spain, I felt out of place and strange. Regardless, I was happy to be back, and soon began to embrace the things I’d missed the most about American culture. I’d returned from my time abroad with a long list of things I’d missed about the USA, and quickly got started on checking things off. First order of business: a Chipotle burrito (probably the biggest meal I’d had in four months). Then, after a good night’s sleep (13 hours, thank you jet-lag), I woke up early and headed out for a big, delicious American breakfast, followed by some tennis and lunch at the beach. All in all, it feels pretty good to be back, although I can’t help but to miss some things about Spain. More than anything else, I miss the sentiment of no pasa nada, the slow, relaxed lifestyle, the delicious food, and the amazingly warm people. I am so thankful for my time abroad, and feel even luckier that through learning about another culture, I came to find an even deeper appreciation of my own.  I am grateful to have come to love two such different places so deeply, and have even reshaped my concept of the word ‘home’ itself. Before Spain, I understood the word to signify a physical place, like a house or a country. Now, however, I see “home” as a state of mind, a feeling of comfort and happiness when you’re surrounded by the people you love. In that sense, I now have two homes: one in Granada and one in Vermont. I believe Miriam Adeney expressed the only downside to this sentiment best, as she stressed that after falling in love with a new place, “you will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

This is one price I’m happy to pay.

Here are a few pictures of my first few days back in the US!

Family bike ride in VT! Missed these mountains…

View of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in New York.

Missed going on walks with the pup! And green grass! Not much of that in southern Spain…

Pancake breakfast. Pure happiness :)

Sunset over the ocean outside of Boston.

Heading to the beach for lunch! Feels good to be back on the East Coast.

First real American breakfast in a long time… I missed hash browns!

Thanks for a great semester :)


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Hallie Bates

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Hallie Bates, and I&#39;m currently a junior at Bowdoin College in beautiful Brunswick, Maine. I&#39;m an Anthropology major, Spanish minor, and am also pursuing a pre-health track in order to one day attend medical school. I love to run, and can&#39;t wait to explore the trails in Granada and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains. I&#39;m excited to get to know a new city from the inside out, and want to visit as many quirky coffee shops as possible, immersing myself in Spanish language, culture and cuisine.</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Bowdoin College
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