It’s not real until you see it. So much of the world is like this. We’ve all seen the classic pictures: the snow-capped Swiss Alps, the Tuscan countryside, and the gondolas in the canals of Venice. But to me, so many of these places weren’t real until I saw them for myself. There’s a certain emotion, ambiance, vibe that comes with actually experiencing them on your own. Seeing new places is my favorite thing in the world to do.
I knew walking by the Eiffel Tower at night was going to be incredible but not like it actually was. I was speechless for hours on end. All of life is the sum of the experiences you have during it, but I’ve felt that so much more here in Europe. I guess all this really means is that I am so happy right now. Even the mellow weekends, like going to Cordoba, where we first really starting bonding as an IES Abroad cohort, were days that I will cherish for the rest of my life. So much has happened that being back in the United States feels like another life ago.
This trip made me contemplate and now decide that I want to take two gap years and spend them all around the world. To start, I plan on running THE marathon – the Athens marathon that ends in Panathinaikos Stadium from ancient Greece. After that, I’m not entirely sure what I want to do. I’d be interested in doing the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain and I definitely want to become fluent in Spain by spending a lot of time in Central and South America. Other than that I’m not entirely sure.
I’ve been toying with the idea of living in another country but I don’t think I would want to live outside the US for an extended period of time. I have made lots of friends here in Spain, some of who will be my friends for life, but I miss my family and friends back home. Coming back to them has been something I've been looking forward to. It would be so hard to leave indefinitely and the old friendships would definitely weaken. That’s not something I am willing to give up even though seeing new parts of the world is this fun. Also my life isn’t real here. This lifestyle isn’t sustainable; living abroad I’d have to actually get a job, have some responsibility and not travel somewhere new every other weekend. It wouldn’t have the same thrill that it does now.
Also, the United States has so much amazing stuff to offer. There’s a lot of American things I really miss: football, Chipotle, New England seafood, clam chowder, house parties, shorts, root beer, barbeque, driving (cars that are bigger than a Fiat), good waiters, American Universities, having a lawn, house parties, people being more on time, Massachusetts beaches and even more stuff that I’m sure I’ll realize when I get home. Wow, way too many things on that list were food related, yikes…
So I think I want to ultimately settle somewhere in the US, not exactly sure where yet. I want to try to get an internship in California next summer – I think it’d be fun to check out San Francisco or LA,We’ll see.
Well now that I just poured out that jumbled mess out of my brain and into this blog, I’m going to go get ready for my trip to Bilbao and San Sebastian this weekend.
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<p>There’s nothing like late night, deep talks, and solving the world’s problems. In Madrid, I’m looking to learn as much as I can, get to know as many people as I can, and get outside my comfort zone as much as I can. Come join the adventure.</p>