¡Hasta luego, España!
It didn’t really feel like the end until I got back home. Sure, the classes and final exams were over; we received our “diplomas;” we took our last set of pictures; and we walked around Toledo for one last time before heading to the airport. But, it didn’t really sink in that Spain was now a part of my past until I landed in the U.S. - when I saw Wendy’s, when everything wasn’t in Spanish, and when my mind thought that it was seven hours later than it actually was.
That’s when it truly set in. And while I was ready to take a break from academic life for a bit, I realized that - deep down - there are still a few things that I’ll miss from Spain.
First off, I’ll miss the weekly trips to Madrid. Wandering around the city gave me a chance to truly embrace the Spanish culture: see what the stores are like, try on Spanish clothes (some of which I couldn’t resist from buying!), eat Spanish food, and more. At times, there was definitely a culture shock. Once, for instance, I ordered steak and assumed it’d be cooked well-done. However, I quickly learned that that’s not how most Españoles like their meat. While there were certainly some striking differences between the Spanish and American culture, some things were nearly one in the same: the obsession with pop music, the economic crisis, and of course, the ever-so-famous Mickey Mouse!
Secondly, I’ll miss seeing a cathedral, castle, or both everywhere I look. Even more so than that, I’ll miss being able to go inside of all of them! It’s remarkable how those buildings have been maintained for so long. These gothic-like buildings, which were built upon cobbled stone roads, symbolically represent how much history Spain has - history that added a refreshing perspective to my experience, and made me value the Spanish culture even more.
Of course, I’ll miss all of the random dancing in Spain, too, whether it be in a “discoteca” (club), my room, or in the streets of Toledo. Likewise, I’ll miss dancing with Danielle (below), who always entertained me with her crazy dance skills; and I’ll definitely miss Aneesh (below) doing random Bhangra moves while we were hanging out, with nothing but a huge smile on his face. :)
Above all, I’ll miss the people. Within just a month, I’ve had conversations that have made me think critically about my actions, learn new things about myself, and bring me closer to people I’ve never really gotten to know before. Learning random yoga moves; dancing nonstop; debating about Facebook, friendships, and the Myers-Brigg Test for hours; making funny impersonations of classmates; being a part of “Team Seco” (Dry Team) with Josh and McKenzie; learning Salsa; and making up Spanglish words when needed - these are the type of moments I’ll miss the most.
In Spanish, “adiós” translates to “to God;” it’s a goodbye that - literally speaking - suggests that you’ll never see that thing, person, or place on earth again. As such, goodbye’s have this underlying tone of, “That’s it; now move on.” But after the four weeks I had in Spain, I don’t want to close this chapter of my life permanently. Instead, I look forward to when it’ll be reopened. I hope to see the beautiful, picturesque cathedrals and castles of Spain again. I hope to see the stray cats running through the streets of Toledo at least one more time. And I surely hope to maintain the friendships I made during these four weeks. Whether directly or not, I sense that Spain will undoubtedly reenter my life again. So instead of saying “adiós” to this incredible experience, I’ll say ”¡Hasta luego, España!”: until we meet again.