Old Friends & Anticipation

When I began writing this post on Friday (but ended up getting distracted and only getting back to it now!), it was two years to the day since I was flying to Spain for my year studying in Madrid. I realize I make observations like this a lot, but, what can I say, I like dates (the calendar kind I mean; the romantic kind is lovely too; however, I dislike the Indio Date Festival fruit kind…just so we’re all clear). Like how I graduated from high school on June 10th, 2007 and graduated from college on June 10th, 2011. Or how I arrived in Spain for the first time ever on June 30th, 2006 and flew home at the end of my year in Madrid on June 30th, 2010.

Or that a group of my Californian friends from Spain happened to schedule a reunion on Sunday, exactly two years after we had all met, without realizing the significance of the date until halfway through the reunion. I love coincidences like that. I also love my group of friends from Spain. I met up with Robin, Michael, Andi, Connie, and Jen in Redondo Beach for an afternoon of sunbathing on the beach, eating Spanish-inspired tapas, and reminiscing about our time in Spain.

Our selection of queso ibérico, chorizo, jamón serrano, and salchichón from Trader Joe's. Not cool that they discontinued their pre-made tortilla española, but they win back points for this.

Reunited! Andi, Michael, Robin, me, Connie, and Jen.

As I think I’ve explained before, my excitement level about returning to Spain fluctuates, and I have my moments of doubt: I happily look forward to the future but, at the same time, it’s hard to let go of the people, places, internships, and other things that make up my life in California. This was how I felt before leaving in 2009 as well, but, back then, I had an entirely idealized perception of what Spain would be (I had spent a month there in 2006, but nothing of the scale I was preparing for). This time around, I know the challenges and setbacks. Yeah, I am getting paid to live in a foreign country, working minimal hours and traveling for next-to-nothing on weekends. Who could complain? There is some apprehension mixed with my excitement, but that’s natural for any big life change. And nothing worth experiencing is 100% perfect anyway. It feels weird, when people ask, “Are you excited?” to not be able to immediately reply, “OMG YES SO EXCITED OMGOMGOMG,” but that’s okay.

Going back to Spain isn’t going to be pure bliss. I’ll have my unhappy moments, but that’s life, and if Spain round three is anything as great as the first two rounds were, I realized while reuniting with my friends on Sunday, I’m in for another amazing year.

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