The end of my semester abroad is rapibdly approaching. I'm pretty sure the countdown has reached about 17 days now til I board my plane and fly home to the US. At this point I feel a huge mix of emotions. Honestly, I spent a lot of my time abroad yearning to go back home. I'm usually not a very homesick person, honestly I wouldn't even describe my feelings this semester as homesick. If anything, I think that I was more just not happy with feeling as though I was missing out on things back home. However, now that my semester is coming to a close, I find myself feeling in some ways disappointed to be leaving Spain. I wouldn't describe this emotion as sad or say that I'm necessarily going to miss Spain, it's more so that I feel very emotional over the fact that I most likely will never return to all of the places I've seen this semester. I feel this immense weight over the idea that once I board my plane back to the US I will be leaving all my experiences in Europe in the past.
I probably won't ever see the green hills of Dublin again or the Atlantic Ocean from the viewpoint of the coast of Portugal. I will never again eat paella every Sunday for lunch or buy tortilla bocadillos in between my classes. I will no longer spend my Saturdays sitting at the Colada Rapida or shopping for too many hours on Calle Toro. I won't ever again only have to walk around the corner to get to the grocery store or watch Pasapalabra every night at dinner.
These are the thoughts that have really been plaguing me over the last week or so. In many ways I have created a life here in Salamanca. I have a routine and friends and favorite places to shop and get food, but once I leave here all that stuff will be gone. I never really realized or felt sad about that until now.
At the same time, this disappointed emotion comes with a ton of feelings of realizing how privledged I truly am. Not many 20 year olds can say that they lived in Europe for four months or that they have travelled to some of the most popular and important countries and cities in the entire world. What normal person has the means to just get on a plane and fly somewhere new every weeked? Because of my decision to go abroad I had that opportunity, and I feel incredibly lucky that I did. I've learned so much more about the world and myself (and how those two things fit together) than I had ever expected to.
Living abroad was not easy. I had highs and lows, saddness and happiness; but all in all I know that years from now I will be so proud of myself for taking on the challenge. I may never return to Europe or Spain or Salamanca again, but at least I got to this time, and at least I made the most of my experience.
So as everyone has said time and time again: don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
With love from Spain,
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<p>I’m a 20 year old student attending Gettysburg College where I study English with a focus on writing and Spanish. I come from a big, close-knit Italian family, am in love with reading and writing, and am always open to new experiences. I hope to be as creative as possible in everything I do and can't wait to find influence from my semester in Salamanca!</p>