Frozen memories

While I was away studying abroad, I felt like I missed so much of what was going on back home. I felt like I missed fun memories,holidays, events, and quality time with my family and friends. Apart of that made me sad while I was away, and it increased my desire to return to my friends in America, but now I realize, that was good time wasted.  I was given the opportunity to see so much do so much, all while in the beautiful European Union. When I finally reunited with my friends and as I lay in bed at night, I realize that the only thing I was missing out on is the full capacity of those days I felt a bit home sick. I didn’t miss as much as I thought, and it wouldn’t be anything to compare my experience abroad to. Now that I am back in the U.S. I’m in constant communication with my host family. Luckily I miss then as much as they miss me and they call Sevilla my home.

   
 

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Worth it.

I promised myself to make a post about the emotions I went through as I had to depart from a place and the people a found a home with. My American friends made there, unforgettable laughter and shared memories; my local family, my señora Antonia (I call her mama); and the the citizens that accepted me as their own. I thought I was ready,ready to be back to the only place I thought was home, but as the time got closer, checking off my lists of things to do before I left Sevilla made me weak. I made sure to share a smile with everyone that a was influential in my visit there, and get one last farewell drink. Ode to Sevilla. I took a million photos to show off, but they never really capture the full beauty. I bought my house mom a bouquet of flowers and a thank you card with printed pictures of us. I found a second home so why dies it feel like I will never be back. Is it because I’m afraid to miss out on the things after I leave, afraid to be forgotten,afraid it’ll just be one another distant memory? I felt like Wonder Woman during my entire stay, but a I said my good byes which I swear are only see you laters, I brought back the coward little girl. As my señora gave me a little speech I giggled and smiled at her words trying to cover the little girl inside who was running screaming and crying in circles. She said to me the kindest words that made me feel like I made a difference to Sevilla. I was told that for the 22years that she has been a house mom for many American students, this was the first that she felt like she had another daughter and for that I will always be in her heart. She said all the girls called her by first name, never offered to help, and barely interacted with the family, but I was different. I called her mom, washed dishes, helped around the kitchen, shared laughs with the entire family, especially her grandson, and made sure that everything was always alright with her. These words meant a lot to me, it made me feel completed, like my purpose may not have been grand but it was necessary. I gave a homeless guy my change, it wasn’t much, but it was all that I had. I wrote a thank you note in Spanish, shared a lot of hugs, and gave a lot of good lucks to everyone I came into contact with. It was hard but it all happened so quickly that I never got time to feel. We joked about how I felt, torn, sad, excited, etc, well they joked about it, I pretended to but I really was a wreck. I’m never emotional but this trip introduced me to a person I never knew existed. After the final goodbye to my señora she told me that she will always be there when I needed and to be sure to stay in contact. I giggled and took a deep breath as I entered the cab. In the cab the driver insisted on having conversation, and that’s when I found out that the cab ride that I was told would be 24€ was really going to be 28€. Ha! I only had 27€ but that was the least of my concern. I had to figure out whether my bags would be over weight, how not to struggle with my three bags, and how to ignore one of my favorite songs as it played on the radio and made me choke in tears.ni decided to let it out I cried when no one was looking. Thank you Sevilla. I thought about all that I went through and thought about my progress. It was worth it. In the airport and on the plane I was able to hold conversations at check in, in security, departure, on the plane with the flight attendant, and with those sitting around me. I had then convinced that I knew the language well and could’ve been a local Spaniard as well. This is when I knew, it was worth it.   
Pictured below, friends that shared memories with me.

   
    
    
  

  

The 3 year old grandson of my señora, Juan.

   
   

My last class, Advance 2, professor, Mila.

   
    

My señora and my roommate. Guess who’s the favorite.

  
  

4th of July at the center. The English learning local children had a celebration.    

 
   

  

  

  

The good with the bad

Before I arrived I was sad, more so anxious, and now that my time is up I am sad/ anxious. I never realized how much of an emotional roller coaster I  am. As I line my bags by the door after packing and finalizing the weight distribution I realized that going home wasn’t as exciting as I imagined.  When I first arrived, my nerves were a wreck and my Spanish seemed to be no existent. As I warmed up I regained some ability to speak and reiterate all the things I had been taught.  At that point, I felt like it still wasn’t enough, so I set a goal for myself and asked fellow classmates for assistance with my conversations. They agreed but no one ever actually helped me.  The center gave me an inter cambio (conversation partner) to help with my cultural and grammatical experience. We met 3 times and after the third I felt like he didn’t care to meet up, like it was another chore for him.  I could’ve changed him, I could’ve requested a female or who ever I wanted, but I decided to practice on my own. I ventured the streets trying to blend in as much as possible, my gym membership at Cuesta Sport was a real additional benefit. I fully immersed myself, mission complete. 

My stay here wasn’t all peaches and cream, rainbows and gum drops. There were many times where I doubted myself and cried because I was overwhelmed. I felt my goals were unattainable, like I wasted my time, and money attempting to grasp something that felt impossible. After crying and venting a little I insisted on increasing my personal practice, by using apps such as duo lingo, listing to YouTube videos, and reading aloud in Spanish more.  Many days it was hard, because I had to deal with class, friends, SIESTA, enjoying different experiences, going to the gym, homework assignments, and still my daily practice drills. I woke up everyday at 7:05a.m. the latest to get ready for class at 9:00a.m. Sometimes it was so hot here in Seville to stay asleep or fall asleep so many days I sat in class exhausted. Somedays I dressed up, somedays I didn’t. The good thing was, no one at school really cared about your wardrobe choice unless you looked like you had a hang over. 
During the May semester I felt like it was horrible, during summer 1 I thought May was the best and that Summer 1 would never end, and semester 3 I wish I had more time, wishing it will never end.  I have had the good with the bad, the ugly with the pretty, and vinegar with my honey.  In reality, when doesn’t things give you hurdles?  The character this experience has strengthened makes me proud of who I am becoming and where I am going. I felt like a failure until I started paying attention to myself instead of others. I thought I barely learned anything, but I find myself having conversations in class, laughing at conversations I over hear in the streets, having discussions with my house mom, and all of this without compete comfusion in my head.  My hallmark moment was when I went to a concert in the royal gardens of alcazar and I understand every word the y said while beginning and ending the show. I sat and giggled to myself. I finally got it. “While buying souvenirs the attendant was telling me about the sales they were having, in Spanish, when I first arrived I wouldn’t have understood. She said “¿tù entiendes? ” I responded with a first Sí and she giggled and said oh “tú hablas español!?” We both chuckled and had a mini conversation. I accepted the fact that because I didn’t  know every word in Spanish didn’t mean I missed my goal. I know enough to assist others, listen to others, and give a decent response. It’s a long road ahead but thank God for bringing me this far. I have learned some good lessons, made some great friends and memories, had some good wine, and soaked up some good sun in the 108 degrees heat. I am excited to head home to share my experiences with my peers and professors. Hoping to inspire many, that through Christ all things are possible. One more exam to go and home sweet home.

 

When it’s all over; what now?

Four weeks ago, I felt like like it would never end.  Moments of when will it be over, I’ve been here forever, I can’t do this any more slowly transformed into when it’s all over, when it’s all said and done; what now?  One week to go and once again my nerves are wrecked. Wrecked because my heart is torn between two places. My home in the U.S. With my family and friends, and my home in Spain with my lifelong memories, new friends, and my lovely family. Aquí, en este momento, yo no se que yo quire.  You would think I would be excited to go home, but apart of me cries at the thought of leaving it all behind. I get choked up at the thought of having to tell my family here good bye. Feels like I will be forgotten, feels like it was all for nothing, feels like I can’t wait to run off the plane in the U.S. but I break down screaming and crying at the thought that it’s all over.  Sevilla, my new home, apart of me.  I promise I’ll be back, but until then let’s make the best out of the week I have left here. All alone in the concrete jungle I thought. I want to sing dance eat, and love everything here like its my last. The feeling of self achievement and the desire to continue it all, when it’s all over, what’s next? How do I continue to live with this experience as my guide. How do I continue to fulfil this feeling of exploration and living every moment of life? I’m so confused, I’m so eager, so overwhelmed, so filled with gratitude. I couldn’t have chosen a better city. I’ve been to Paris, Barcelona, Portugal, Córdoba, Ronda, Jerez, Cádiz….Seville. Seems long to some but to me it’s not even half of it. The opportunity to see God’s work on earth and within myself has to be the best vision ever felt.  So many big things in the tiniest places on earth. Did I do my part, did I inspire, did I bless those whose aren’t as fortunate? What can I do to give back?   

 I haven’t even seen half of it. I want to see more, I want to do more; what now?

Apart of Me

 Today, when someone was talking to me, I couldn’t distinguish whether it was in English or Spanish, my señora said something to me in Spanish but in my head I thought it was English, when people talk to me in English, I reply in Spanish unintentionally. When deciding, I was wondering if staying for the enter summer, May to July, would be beneficial for me. I had anxieties of my abilities and doubted my learning capacity but now… The progress is obvious. I am not a fluent but I speak more freely and confidently. I no longer try to listen or form sentences in my head, it’s coming naturally to me.  Three weeks left and it is bitter sweet. I feel in love with the people, the food, the scenery, and basically the culture.  It’s apart of me that I won’t ever regret nor forget. Pictured below is the beautiful town of Ronda. This travel abroad experience has taught me more than what I expected. I expected to arrive, learn as much Spanish and about the people, then leave. This is true but in addition to that I have learned about neighboring cities, the variety of Spanish cultures based on region; I’ve improved my understanding of Europe, the lifestyle, it’s politics and history; increased my social abilities, networking with people all over the world, created memories and bonds with new family and friends; traveled to placed I’ve always dreamed of; and found another place to call home. Day trips make me home sick. Not home sick of the United States, but homesick of Seville. This is my home, with my family. This is apart of me. 

Officially Summer

I’ve been here from May doing a Summer Study abroad, but now it is Officially summer, you know what that means? The sales ar increasing, but so is the temperature. We get to enjoy 104 degrees on a good day, and 112 on an even better day. Everyone is excited. That’s all we talk about. We get to shamelessly wear less clothing and get hours of cardio without having to run. We won’t have to worry about people judging us for eating ice creams during the day because it’s usually only eaten as a desert. School kids are out so it more exciting dodging the teeny boppers as you walk. The parks are filled with love birds and no one has to pretend to be happy because it’ll be understood that we are excited and the heat.  Thankfully in various areas of town, specifically where the shops are, the put up the shaded covers so we won’t get too cold from the wind chill.  I’m being sarcastic, we are all terrified for what’s to come?  A day at the beach, ice cream, less clothing, and multiple fans are the temporary fixes. 

Traveling on a budget

So, when I originally planned on studying in Seville Dpain, but sometimes it feels like I am on a European tour. I’ve seen so many places that I didn’t even anticipated on visiting. I love it.  I realized the possibility,it’s were endless when I found a flight to Paris for 35€. (Www.skyscanner.com) then I learned about Airbnb, hostels, and couch surfing. All are safe budget friendly ways once you do enough research on the host life is great. You have to be realistic that you opcant afforded a 5star hotel, but you can fulfil dreams while staying somewhere affordable.  For food, we went to a market, got some bread, cheese, chicken, snacks,  I’ve been in Seville for 2terms of the summer so before starting the 3rd, they gave us a week without classes. I found friends to divid housing costs and we planned our voyage. Places we wanted to always visit that we wouldn’t have imagined seeing. I’ve always wanted to do Barcelona, and Paris. Done and done. They we browsed around at prices of other cities like Rome, Geneva, Croatia, and all the unimaginable. I didn’t get to do all but with the time that I got off from school I’ve seen way more than I ever dreamed and decided that learning another language would be a great idea. French is next on my list. France is so close to Spain, but they’re still so different from one another. France is more like Lindon or New York in my opinion. I liked it. I felt at home, and it made me feel better about being able to speak Spanish on a survival level. It made me realize how great my Spanish was because in Spain I am able to respond, or use phrases to ask, help, or answer question. Our next stop is Barcelona, I’m excited for the sun shine. (Paris is beautiful, but it is still freezing in June so I recommend bringing a cardigan or cardigan so when you get chilly). There are MANY MANY more places to visit while here but I only decided to post a few cliché Eifel towel pics. BonVoyage