The One with the Alternate-Format and the Thank Yous

Tre Nowaczynski
May 3, 2016

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 17:04

Paseo de Los Tristes, Granada

Before this semester really comes to a close and before the goodbyes start, I just want to say thank you. Thank you not only to you the reader, but to any and everybody and everything that has been this experience. For the host mother I have, who truthfully spoils me with breakfast and immeasurable amounts of lunch, washes all of our laundry on Mondays, and organizers our rooms when we’re gone. Who has stuck by us through late nights and odd meal times, English rants, and unrecognizable Spanish words. Who has taught me so much about the history of Spain and its current state, how to properly enjoy Spanish food, HGTV, and how to adapt to the culture. Although we may not agree on the existence of paranormal entities, that it’s okay to go to the gym AND for a run in the same day, or even that the mustache I grew this semester looks good, I have truly enjoyed sharing a space I call home with her. And to my roommate who I’ve also shared this experience with, debriefing after trips, late night shawarma, discussing this new place we live in and who has some of the best ideas day after day and who works hard to chase after his dreams and will undoubtedly be successful.

To all of my new friends, who I’ve gotten lost with, climbed mountains, cooked, tasted-wine, sat in the sun, sat on buses, on ferries, on planes, in taxis, on walls, pillars, and camels. Who I’ve traveled around Spain with, eaten tapas, danced flamenco with, laughed with, and made inside jokes about dried fruits and the subjunctive tense with. While the moments we’ve all spent together have been incredible, what I have enjoyed more are the individual conversations we’ve had. Where you offered me a window into who you are, who you were, or who you want to be. Where we don’t often get to go in our own thoughts, a shared space where what you think of yourself and what another person thinks of you blends together into dialogue. I’ve loved every conversation and every opportunity to explore how you think about the world and how that aligns with my own beliefs. I’ve loved seeing what makes everybody unique, from the artists to the actors, the people who love to write, play music or a sport, the people who are witty and clever, the ones who from the west coast, east coast and everything in between, who have traveled all over the world. The people who have tried new foods, a new activity, and got piercings. The people who I’ve seen smile, with light trapped in their eyes, having a good time and enjoying this experience with me.

To the people of Spain I’ve never talked to and maybe never will, for playing music in the streets, having conversations for me to overhear. For cleaning the streets, sharing your food, and granting us the space study here. For your transportations services, worlds better than the Megabus I will return to in the United States. For your arid climate, North African sun, and cool nights. For thousands of years of history still standing today, evident in relationships between social groups varying by nationality, religion, and gender. For the sense of security I’ve felt, and although I’m privileged to say so, I will also say that I am aware that this makes me equally responsible to make sure that nothing happens to anybody who does not feel as safe. For allowing me to fit into the culture as if I was a native, with autonomy and free will.

To the professors, orientation leaders, workers, organizers, janitors, leaders, drivers, volunteers, and all else involved. Thank you. Thank you for a program so flawless and fluid I sometimes didn’t have to do anything but show up. To be blown away by the execution and timeliness field trips and departures. For the events all over the city from going out to eat, playing sports, dancing, and even learning about Japanese culture. This is a program that I would recommend to anybody even somewhat considering studying abroad. A program that has made my own personal growth possible, giving me the tools to thrive during a study abroad experience.

To my Dad, brother, sister, family, friends, and best friends at home. Thank you for putting up with late responses and difficult communication. Thank for putting up with my absence and giving me the space to make this experience what I needed it to be. Thank you for being the support system I could rely on in times of need even if I couldn’t reciprocate appropriately. Thank you for being a part my life, shaping me into who I am today because of our relationships. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be here. Thank you for accepting me for what I am, and hopefully what I will be. Thank for being a part of my life thus far.

(Spoiler Alert: A mother’s day shout out, I’m sorry if there are tears)

And last but not least, thank you to my Mom. My mom who has done more for me every day of my life than I probably have myself. My mom who selflessly does whatever she can to make sure that here children are happy. The woman who in more ways than I can count has made it possible for me to be here. The person who I aspire to make proud every day and hope to represent well. One of the people who I look up to more than anyone, even if we do argue sometimes. My mom, who herself will be traveling this summer, and I am excited to share experiences with. My mom, who has been with me in this experience through my own breakdowns, successes, and failures. Without my mom, I don’t know where I would be. And being so far away from that source of support is difficult, but at the same time, I know that she prepared more for this. Because of her I double check details and ask too many questions. Because of her I go on rants before the actual story starts. Like her I enjoy being outdoors and going on long walks, enjoying times of peace. It is her hyper-controlled state of being and protectiveness that I try to emulate. Even as I have discovered our similarities, I have also encountered our differences. The things that make me who I am, from my passions to my complexion. These differences and similarities serve as a constant reminder of who I am, where I come from, but also that I was never bound to any one way of being. That my interactions with my environment have contributed equally to what I am, and for that, I am eternally thankful to call her my mom.

So thank you everybody, for you. Thank you for contribution to this semester and contributing to my growth. For those in Spain, I hope that we cherish these last few moments we have together before it all becomes a memory, taking advantage of every opportunity presented to us. Whether it be a chance to go out for tapas, a chance to practice Spanish, or a chance to learn more about the people we are with. For those of you at home, I’ll be back soon, with plenty to share. Thank you for everything.

(Disclaimer: I still have several posts to go, this new (and mediocre) Drake album just made me get into my feelings)

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Tre Nowaczynski

<p>A sociology major at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At school I am a two-sport varsity athlete, sing and beat box in an a cappella group on campus and volunteer in the Twin Cities area. In the future I hope to develop and create safer and more integrated communities, creating equal opportunities in urban centers across the US. Specifically I seek to work against structural racism by reducing disparities that are current outcomes of our social systems. This study abroad experience is a time to reflect and immerse myself in an entirely different world beginning first and foremost with a language barrier. I hope to be successful academically and socially as well as learn a lot about myself and the world around me.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Macalester College
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