Well here I am, sitting in Caledonia Coffee House, sipping on a smoothie, my final exam behind me. ¡Cómo vuela el tiempo! IES Abroad is hosting La Gala de Despedida tonight and then we are all heading to the plaza to celebrate La Nocheviaje Universitaria. This time tomorrow I will be en route to the Madrid Airport to catch my flight back to Boston. I really still can’t believe it. Finals week was a drag but now that the end is here, I feel like time won’t slow down.
I guess now is the time I share my eye-opening revelations and life changing experiences from my time abroad with everyone. After all, I’m sure I will be bombarded with questions the instant I sit down at the dinner table, plate straining under the weight of my serving of Christmas ham. However, when I start to reflect on this past semester, it is not my numerous trips across Europe nor my academic experience that comes to mind. In fact, my first thoughts go to all the little memories.
These are the things that other people won’t be able to understand completely. I can talk about how the owners of my favorite café learned my name through my blog (yes, this one!) or how my friends and I forwent a night out to prepare a homemade meal together in our Airbnb in Lisbon. I can try to describe the time I had tears rolling down my face from laughing so much when a friend discovered that he had been using dish soap instead of laundry detergent to wash his clothes. I can try to describe how content I felt when I was with my friends, floating along Río Tormes, aboard our rented boat with our favorite companions, bread, cheese and wine. However, it does not matter how hard I try to accurately articulate all these memories because my friends and family will never fully appreciate the value of these moments. I absolutely loved my trip to Portugal but the memory of all of the students dancing and singing to Stacy’s Mom in Paniagua makes me smile more. It was fun to try different restaurants around the city but I will never forget the first time my host mom and I cooked tortilla española together.
For me, this semester is comprised of these special moments and all of the friendships I have made during my stay. Studying abroad embodies all of its clichés but it has given me more than I could ever imagine. Despite the fact that when I return, people will be amazed by all the beautiful photos and impressed by my level of Spanish, the reality is, the memories that I hold close to my heart are what truly defines my study abroad experience. Although I am excited to be home, I am not quite ready to leave my life in Spain behind. Nevertheless, as I said to my host mom, I hate goodbyes but this is an hasta luego.
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<p style="margin-bottom:12.0pt"><span style="color:#404040">My name is Isabel but unless you’re either my mom, dad or nurse calling me in from the waiting room, I go by Izzie. I am a rising junior at Gettysburg College pursuing a major in the Health Sciences with a minor in Spanish. I have traveled outside of the US before (namely the Philippines where a lot of extended family reside) however, visiting a country for vacation and being totally immersed in it are two completely different experiences and I can’t wait for this new adventure in Spain.</span><span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><span style="font-family:"Times",serif"> </span></span></span></p>