Today was my last day in Barcelona. That sad reality has brought with it a whirlwind of nostalgia, sadness, and excitement that usually comes with any big life change. I found myself being torn in two, as my eagerness to return came in conflict with my love of this city. And so begins one of the saddest blogs I have had to write during this experience: my farewell to Barcelona.
I am reminded of my childhood dreams to explore this city. To walk along Las Ramblas and explore the Sagrada Familia. At the time it felt like a distant fantasy, a dreamlike place where the sunshine and beauty created a sort of paradise. It was something to merely imagine, and my young mind had no concept of an actual trip to the city I had dreamed of. And while this experience abroad was not my first time in Barcelona since the days of my childhood fantasies, I can’t help but feel like my past experiences were incomplete or insufficient. Now, I feel as if I truly know and understand the city for the complex, diverse, artistic, and lively place that it is. And as cliché as it may sound, I fell more in love with it that I could have ever imagined.
As a final ceremony to close out this chapter in our lives, my friends and I visited the Font de Canaletes on Las Ramblas. The legend behind this fountain is written on a plaque on the floor in front of the fountain. It says "If you drink water from the Font de Canaletes you will always be in love with Barcelona. And however far away you go. You will always return". And thus, trying to be poetic and thoughtful, we all gathered around the fountain to drink water, in hopes of one day returning to this place that has become our phone. It wasn’t a very solemn, reflective moment, as we giggled and joked throughout the whole ritual, but there was a sort of reverence to it. It was the end of an important journey, and in this fountain we were searching for the opportunity to one day somehow relive it once again. It felt like we were securing our destiny to return to the city we have fallen in love with.
As I sit and type this on my laptop, suitcases packed and ready for my flight in the morning, I have yet to fully comprehend how Barcelona has changed me and what I will miss about my new home. I know that I only truly learned how important home was to me once I left, so too I will learn how much Barcelona has changed me when the time comes to leave it. For now, all I can really say is this: Thank you, Barcelona. You have changed me forever.
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<p>I am a young Latina student who is passionate about travel, community empowerment, and celebration of diversity. I am the only daughter of Mexican immigrants and my life has been a colorful blending of Mexican and American cultures that has created a passion for the exploration of diverse cultures through travel. In all that I do, I try to learn about and immerse myself in worlds and communities unlike my own, because with each experience I grow as a conscious global citizen and will be able create bridges that can bring about positive social change in communities throughout the world.</p>