Exactly two months from now, I’ll be on a plane back to California. For good. Well, not for good for good, because I’m sure I’ll come back to Spain at some point in some capacity, but that marks the end of this journey. And it’s so weird to think about leaving this place. I’m not just on an extended vacation; I live here. This is my home now (I mean, I still always refer California as home, but this is home too) and has been for the past eight months. When I left California in August, it was a big deal leaving, but at least I knew home would be there waiting for me when I got back. When I leave Spain, who knows what will happen? I may find an opportunity to live here for an extended period of time again, but, even then, things won’t be the same. Different people, different places, etc.
So leaving is going to be really tough, but, at the same time, I get to go home to an fantastic place filled with people I adore, and I’m so lucky to have that. There’s a lot I’m excited about for next year, like being back at UCLA, living in my new apartment for which Monica and I just put down a deposit, spending time with friends and family, and more. So the fact that I have two months left stirs up very mixed emotions. I keep saying that I really wish teleportation would be invented so I can go back and forth between California and Spain whenever I want. Or maybe I’ll clone myself so I can be in both places at once. Isn’t there a way that I don’t have to choose between one and the other?
But, anyway, let’s reflect a bit on the first 4/5 of my time here. Simply put, it’s been amazing. And I still have two more amazing months ahead! I didn’t have any clearly set goals before I came, but the main things I wanted to get out of this experience were 1) traveling Europe, 2) improving my Spanish, and 3) growing as a person. I have definitely done all three, and I still have time left!
1) Traveling Europe – Oh my gosh, I’ve done more traveling than I ever could have dreamed of. Portugal, Ireland, Segovia, Aranjuez, Italy, Córdoba, Granada, Sevilla, Morocco, Granada again, Brussels, Paris, Toledo, Chinchón, Alcalá de Henares, Barcelona, El Escorial, Valencia, Sevilla again, Málaga, Nerja, Frigiliana, Italy round two, Amsterdam, Sevilla yet again, and Córdoba again. All of these trips have been fabulous, and I have plans to go to Santander, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Mallorca, Cuenca, Salamanca, Tenerife, and London/Stonehenge before I leave.
2) Improving my Spanish – I had this funny idea before arriving that, as soon as I arrived, all the Spanish I learned in high school would come flooding back to me and I’d be more or less fluent about a week after arriving. Yeah, that did not happen at all, and living in a country where everyone speaks a foreign language is a struggle, but I am getting better! I’m not fluent, but I can have 3+ hour-long conversations in Spanish, get straight A’s at a Spanish university, and generally get around without any problem, so I’m pretty proud of that.
3) Growing as a person – I could go more in depth about this, but that would be boring and cheesy, so I’ll just say that I definitely feel like I’ve grown a lot in many different ways since coming here.
So, overall, Spain is great, if you couldn’t tell from all the raving I’ve done already. I realize most of my posts are about trips and not about my daily life, but to sum up my daily life:
- I travel a lot, as you’ve seen. It’s awesome.
- I have school two days a week (plus one class on Wednesdays), meaning I get a ton of free time. School is pretty good, much more enjoyable this semester now that I feel more comfortable and am taking more interesting, less stressful classes.
- I love my EAP friends. There are only a few of them left, so my group of friends is fairly small, but they’re all really fun people and I’m glad to have fellow Californians here with me.
- The first few months, it was hard talking to Spaniards because I was intimidated and am generally a shy person anyway, but I’ve been meeting more Spanish people since then. I’m not, like, bff status with any of them, but I do have Spanish friends!
- The weather has gotten SO nice here. It’s been in the 70s this week, which is perfect. It took a long time for Madrid to dry/warm up, but I love that it finally feels like spring. Good weather makes me so profoundly happy.
The only negative thing at the moment is that I have a 50-page paper due in two weeks. It turns out that’s pretty much normal for Spaniards, which is funny because school is so easy here in every other way (no one ever shows up to class, the professors are lenient about due dates, assignments are rarely given, etc.). But I’ll finish that just in time for my 21st birthday! Madrid’s big fiesta is the weekend of my birthday, and then Connie and I are going to Mallorca on my actual birthday. I may be missing out on all the stereotypical American 21st birthday stuff, but, dude, I get to go to this place:
In conclusion, Spain continues to be awesome (I think I’ve said that all along, but I never meant it as much as I do now), and I have a lot to look forward to in my last two months! Love you guys!