Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ultimo Dia

Today is my last day in Spain!
Its strange that I feel almost the exact same way that I did the day before I left, when I was in Arkansas packing my bags for four months. It feels like I am standing on the edge of the great unknown.. which is strange because I am going home.
I did not expect to feel so sad about leaving.
I have been doing a lot of reflection and I wanted to list some of my favorites from this semester!

Places I went this semester:

  • Alicante (duh)
  • Valencia
  • Benidorm
  • Elche
  • Granada
  • Barcelona
  • Madrid
  • Venice, Italy
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • London, England
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Galway, Ireland

  • Racing from the bathroom back to our seats with the Japanese girls last week when we saw Iron Man 3 at the movies (yes, we saw it before it came out in America. booya). We were full out running. Midori won.
  • Getting lost in an olive grove with my parents on the way to Granada.
  • Missing our bus to from Madrid back to Alicante.
  • Pepita trying to give Perlita (the dog) a bath.
  • Eating awful pancakes with new friends when Jo and I hosted a pancake night. We had accidentally bought a weird kind of flour.
  • The Mercadona song
  • Climbing up to the castle for the first time at sunset.
  • Surprising Johanna when Rusty came to visit.
  • Epic sleepover with Hayley at Jo and Brynn's apartment
  • Watching Les Mis, Silver Linings Playbook, and Iron Man 3 in Spanish at the movies!
  • Roaming through the Spanish countryside looking for the Fonts d'Algar
  • Trying to split a check at Valor
  • Finding authentic Mexican food in Madrid
  • Teaching Wendy and the Japanese girls American slang- What's up girrrrrl?.. Bummer!.. That's sketchy!
  •  Seeing the palace in Madrid for the first time
  • Watching Josh and Asaf grow in their understanding of the female mind
  • Having the Japanese girls cook real Japanese food for us!
  • Stumbling upon the San Martin parade with Brynn one night
  • Meeting up at the beach for the first time back in January when everyone from our group had arrived in Spain
  • Watching the Three Kings Parade back in January
  • Being completely creeped out during Semana Santa
  • Watching things explode and feeling like I was going to die at Las Fallas

Things I will miss about my life here in Spain:

  • Looking at the castle as I walk down the hill to the bus stop in the mornings
  • Walking and riding the bus
  • Exploring the city
  • Hearing Claire de Lune play somewhere in the city every morning at 9 AM
  • Constantly being surrounded by big beautiful rugged mountains
  • Going to the beach after school
  • Going to the market to buy fruit or bread and cheese for lunch
  • Valencian oranges
  • La Explanada in the afternoons- seeing all the old people sitting on the wooden chairs that they put out on the colorful tiled street
  • Never feeling stressed about school... or really anything.
  • Hopping on a train or a Ryanair flight whenever we want to travel somewhere crazy
  • Using "no pasa nada" for everything
  • Tapas bars
  • Having to speak Spanish all the time
  • Using the vosotros form and the Spanish "lisp"-- never thought I would like that, but I do now!
  • Eating gelato whenever we want it
  • Walking through the streets when there is a futbol game on and hearing the shouting coming from everywhere
  • Watching a game in a bar and yelling with everyone
  • Impromptu parades!
  • Kissing as a greeting... it was weird at first. Now I like it!
  • Not having to tip
  • No sales tax
  • Paella
  • Valor Chocolate
  • Meeting people from all over the world
  • No longer feeling like a tourist in Alicante
  • Spanish clothing stores-- Bershka, Zara, and Mango
  • The Spanish people's way of finding a reason to have a festival for EVERYTHING

Things I hate about Spain:
  • Pepita's three favorite shows- Mujeres y Hombres, Salvame, and Hay Una Cosa. Yelling and fighting is a major part of all three. They are Spanish. You can imagine the noise.
  • Tile
  • No ice in drinks
  • No split checks
  • Whistling men
  • The dollar is pretty wimpy compared to the euro
  • Limited amount of hot shower water
  • Leaving Spain 

People I hate leaving:
  • As crazy as she is... Pepita. We love her.
  • Wendy- our Belgian sister.
  • The Japanese girls: Miku, Midori, Manami, and Rie. We love them so much and my heart is breaking to be leaving them.
  • Brenna- A friend from Arizona who we met here. At least she is from the same country as us! It still will be sad to no longer see her all the time.
  • Sooji- Brynn and Johanna's Korean flatmate. She always keeps us laughing!
  • So many other friends I have met through school- Sarah, Julie, Iri, Tanya, Angie, Jolene, Elise, Danielle.. as well as the best Spanish professors ever- Carmen, Marina, Diego, MariCruz, and Natalia.

This semester:
  • I have spoken Spanish more than I ever have in my entire life.
  • I have developed quite a good ear for the language- I can almost understand everything now- and I can now enjoy books and movies in TWO different languages! (Knowing another language opens up a whole new world of information!)
  • I have learned a tiny bit of Japanese, French, and Chinese as well from all the friends I have made!
  • I have learned how to pack a backpack for weekend excursions to places I would normally take a whole suitcase for!
  • I have understood a little more of what Matthew 28:19 means for my life.
  • I have learned how to travel without grownup help.. (because I guess I'm a grown up now..?)
  • I have backpacked through the UK- a high school dream I had!
  • I have gone to 6 different castles/palaces from different cultures and countries.
  • I have consumed more olive oil than you probably have in your entire life.
  • I have gotten used to being a little stinky all the time- AKA not showering every day.
  • I have swam in the Mediterranean Sea!
  • I have been completely immersed in a different culture.
  • I have come to understand more deeply the meaning of the term Flexibility. (or maybe have come to grips with my lack of understanding!)
  • And I did it all with my friends.

Wow, what a semester it has been. I can't believe that it is over. I remember getting on that flight to Spain over 4 months ago and having no clue of what the semester would hold! Now the four months have passed and I have to go home! Time FLIES! 

I have said this before, but I will say again that I am so glad that I have had this experience. I feel like I have grown in every aspect of my life during these four months. If any of you out there are a student interested in studying abroad, I want to encourage you to do it. It has low points and high points, but I can tell you now that I do not think that there could be anyone who having completed four months abroad could say truthfully that they regretted that time. Though admittedly some days are hard, the experiences gained during a study abroad time are priceless. You're young, you're able, you get to come home after four months (its not like your'e stuck there forever!), so why not do it? Doing something hard is what grows us and shapes our character. So check it out.
Okay, that was my plug.

Its been a good run. Though it will be good to see family and friends, this whole leaving thing is feeling pretty bittersweet. A little harder than I thought it would be. I am interested to find out how reentry into America will be. I have heard reverse culture shock can be kind of a jerk. It will be interesting to see how my perspective has changed. 

I suppose this will be my last post about Spain. Again, I thank you for keeping up with my life as I have gone on this four month journey. It has been a good one. I really appreciate all the love and support I have been given during my time here. It has meant a lot. I look forward to reconnecting with so many good friends at OBU and at home and getting to tell all of you more about my adventures in PERSON!

As for my blog.. I have enjoyed keeping up with it this semester. We shall see if I keep writing on it or not.. maybe de vez en cuando.

Ha sido un semestre increible. No puedo esperar a veros!
Con mucho amor,


1 comment:

  1. Bethany,
    Great re-cap! I feel like I partially lived your study abroad along with you as I followed all your pics and blogs. Welcome Home! I hope you enjoy your time back in the Delph for senior year. This has been a sweet time but life goes on so embrace the next journey with as much gusto as you approached this one. Hasta luego, hopefully soon!