My semester abroad has unfortunately come to a close. It was filled with wonderful memories, unforgettable sights, and amazing people. I have said hello and goodbye. I have learned so much. I have seen things I never thought I would see. I have marveled in the splendor and trudged through the mundane. I have done so much and yet it feels like it could never be enough.
I have returned home and now see things slightly differently. The house is still home but the atmosphere has changed. The people are the same but their mannerisms are a little different. It feels like I am looking through a lens. Everyone I know and love are still themselves, but just as I have grown, so have they. The once subtle change one undergoes has been compounded and has become something that is slightly jarring.
Old routines no longer work well. Old habits aren’t so easily revived. It takes extra effort to remember that not everything will be the same as it once was. And oftentimes, the drastic changes are not from the people at home, but are from you.
You are the one that went abroad, you are the one that learned so many new things, experienced new ways of thinking. You are the change. Sure everyone back home has changed, but only slightly. You are the one that came back different. And this is not a bad thing. But it has taken some getting used to on both ends.
And this is only the beginning. I saw a new way of living. I learned of new traditions and discovered new ways of thinking. There were celebrations of things I did not think were important. There were hesitations around things I was used to talking about. I learned so much and yet barely scratched the surface. Three and a half months. So much in three and a half months. But there is still so much to learn. This experience has shown me that I need to go back. Learn more. Discover more. And not just to Barcelona. There is a whole world, full of people who have their own ways of thinking and living. So many cultures that I know little to nothing about. Groups of people that have their own history and story to tell. There are some cultures that I have a vague idea about but could be wrong about.
I will travel more. I will learn more. I look forward to what the future holds. Plans I created are starting to take a different shape. Not everyone’s experience will change their plans. But the path I was taking has come upon a fork in the road. And so, there is much to do, much to decide. This amazing chapter in my life has come to a close. But I still have so much more to do. By the end of my days I will have quite the tale to tell. For now, the story has just begun.
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I am a silly, go with the flow kind of person. I love adventure and family. Travel and home, the simple and the extravagant. I am Kaitlyn Morales. From a small town in California, I have taken every chance I can to travel.