“I’ve been here before” I thought to myself as I hugged my friend goodbye on her porch, seeing each other for the last time before yet another semester apart. I rolled my bag away to the same bus station that would take me from my college town of Austin, Texas to my beloved Houston. I knew I would get home and yet again have the same debate I had with myself last year about the practicality of bringing a certain sequined sweater in my closet to Spain. A lot of things will be the same when I get back to Madrid to start my second semester abroad, but I’ve had time and space to reflect on the fall and I’m packing a few declarations with (along with much warmer clothing options).
Gone are the nights of putting up with the shenanigans of ridiculous bouncers who won’t let me bring my Campbell’s tomato soup can into the discoteca even though it is an essential part of my Andy Warhol Halloween costume. Finished are the weekends where the puny sentence “I’m tired” stands in the way of a trip to a world class museum—being tired at the Prado is probably better than my room. And I say a loud “Buh Bye!” to the nervousness that keeps me in my chair and stops me from making a Spanish friend cause as Jennifer Lewis said on the premier of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4, “It’s BOriiing”. This is my last semester in the city of the gatos. I’m sure it will be similar, but I assure you it will not be the same.
For a lot of you who stumble across this here little post, this may be your one and only semester you spend in your new corner of the world. Wherever that may be, I’m encouraging you—and yes, also me—to take this semester, hold it between your world travelling hands and bite down. Try not to eat too much American fast food (unless you go somewhere like Madrid where the Taco Bells have a world class happy hour deal, then go now and stop for no one). Remind yourself that this place you’re in, this life you’re leading, is far from normal and be grateful for it and respect it by saying yes as much as you can.
As a I go between writing this article and packing up my things, I’ve decided that this semester is going to be a sequined sweater sort of spring. Or at least the leftover winter part of it, we’ll have to see about when it gets warm.
I’m looking forward to another semester abroad and can’t wait to share my experiences with the rest of you non-stopping, globe-trotting, adventure-having, party-making, study abroad-ing champions.
Until the next one, my fellow noodles!