This week is the beginning of the end and the ending of the beginning. It is the ending of my time here in Spain, but hopefully just the beginning of a life-long journey to grow in my Spanish-speaking abilities. Endings are always bittersweet and often difficult to process until it’s too late.
It still hasn’t hit me that in a few days I’ll be on a plane back to the land of super-size-me fast food, normal eating hours and other native English speakers. I won’t deny that I’m excited to go home. Every day my anticipation grows more and more. I’m ready for summer nights at the drive-in, ice cream dates with my best friends, library visits and all the other languid pastimes that summer entails.
Still, this summer will be different. You see, I’m not the same person I was. Spain has changed me and taught me a new way of life. Don’t worry; I’m still the same cupcake-loving feminist-ranting girl I was before. I still talk way too much and don’t think before I speak. I still show my gums and teeth every time I laugh.
I traveled across Europe with just a backpack, a pair of jeans and one pair of terribly uncomfortable boots.
I survived five months in a foreign country that I had never been to before and knew basically nothing about.
I fell in love with a lifestyle different from my own.
I’ve changed, and that’s okay. I’ve learned to breathe more and enjoy the journey. These next five days will be my reflection on what I’ve learned and what I hope to continue in my life as I head back to the states. When living somewhere new, it’s impossible to leave without learning something. Still, it’s what you do with that knowledge that counts the most.