It’s been a week since I’ve left Granada. Yet, I’m also not home. For the past few days I’ve been traveling by train with a friend, trading one city for the next every few days. It’s a completely different daily experience, one of constant motion: having fun but trying to save every penny; communicating in languages we don’t fully understand. We don’t stay long enough in a place to have a favorite café, nor to learn people’s names. We are not regulars at any bakeries, or experts in which streets to walk down to get the best free food samples. After four months of staying put suddenly everything feels in fluctuation. This small trip is a strange gap in between being in Granada and being home. I know that in a couple of days I will board an extremely long flight and head back to the East Coast. In fact, despite being wary of being on a plane for so long, I am excited to do so. I miss my family, my friends. Four and a half months not in the U.S.! While I’ve come to realize it is actually not that much time, to me it still feels significant. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from home. Yet, while there are people and things I’ve missed, there is much I’ve come to love deeply during my time in Spain. In my last few days in Granada all I could think about was how much I enjoyed the life I had forged for myself in a city far away from my home. I loved the cafés on every corner, that I could walk three minutes from my house and find a shaded plaza. I loved the outdoor concerts, that there were always people in the street, that I would bump into people I knew just walking around going about my day. Walking the streets of Granada in May, I belonged.
In every place my friend and I pass through on this trip I find reminders of Granada rising to my mind—well, in Granada tapas come for free with any drink; oh, but there’s an ice cream place in Granada that has the best flavors; a sunset view of the Alhambra in Granada is breathtaking. The comments slip out of my mouth before I can stop myself—I’m reluctant to be that stereotypical person who comes back from study abroad full of boasts, unable to talk about anything else. But at the same time I find myself thinking how could I talk about anything else?! For the past few months, studying abroad has been my life. A choice I have never once regretted. I've seen how it's helped me grow and opened my mind to the wealth of possibilities for my future that exist. It has pushed me to be more outgoing, to be brave, confident, and take considered risks. Studying abroad and living abroad has been an experience I could not have imagined, yet something I am incredibly grateful for. In the next few months, years even, I have no doubt that I will miss Granada, but for now, moving forward I hope to take some of what I have learned in Granada and apply it to my life back in the U.S.
In Granada, it is common to say goodbye to people using the phrase hasta ahora, which translates literally to ‘until now.’ My Spanish teacher explained to our class that on a linguistic level a speaker extends the space of ahora so that everyone can ‘fit’ inside of it. Thus, instead of ahora meaning this exact moment, ahora can mean five minutes, one hour, in a week, this month. Looking back on my simultaneously short and long stay in Granada, I find this conception of time comforting. Instead of staying ‘goodbye’ to Granada, I say ¡hasta ahora!
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<div>Hi! I'm Soledad, a junior studying American Studies with a concentration on the culture and design of public space. I'm originally from Brooklyn, New York. In my free time I love singing, playing music with other people, cooking (and eating) new foods, and dancing.</div>