8 months ago, I was in the same position as I am now. I was getting ready to leave, and question what I should take with me. I was constantly asking myself, “What will I not be able to live without? What am I forgetting? What do I need to do before leaving?” I am asking myself these same questions now, except I’m on the other side leaving from a different world with a drastically changed outlook on life. This time, I am worried about forgetting memories and lessons, instead of my favorite shirt and a pair of shoes for every occasion.
This year has been a dream. Traveling has been a part of my life in the past, and will be in the future, but actually living in this culture for a year has taken my understanding of the world so much farther. I have appreciated seeing America from an outside perspective. Learning about what it was like growing up in Spain, with a history including Franco’s dictatorship and many civil wars, and brilliant artists and writers to preserve it all forever, has been priceless. I read about Frederico Garcia Lorca, who is from Granada, and then walked among the caves in Sacramonte and mingled with the gitanos that he wrote beautiful metaphors about. I lived in Malaga, and walked by the house Picasso was born in. I have lived in a country where greatness sprung from simple beginnings, and it has humbled me and left me in awe.
I was scared to come here, 8 months ago. I had never been to mainland Europe, didn’t know anything about Spain, and had never heard of Malaga or Granada except when I applied to the programs. I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t know the language. I’m leaving with friends who I will miss so dearly, with others that I still talk to even though we are thousands of miles apart, and with a first-hand knowledge of customs and places I otherwise would never have known about. Though I am not fluent, I can understand more Spanish than I ever thought I would and can get by communicating simple phrases with locals, and can be proud every time I learn a little bit more.
I have confirmed that I am a European at heart, and will return someday, but for now, adios España, y gracias por todo!
Thanks for reading my blog posts this year, I hope to meet you somewhere in the world, someday!
Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Wanderer, there is no road. The road is made by walking. -Antonio Machado