Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two lives.


It's been about a week since I posted about my time spent in Granada.  I hoped you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  

It's April 28th.  In exactly two months I will wake up and spend the last full 24 hours in Spain.  I will board a plane bound for NYC on the 29th.  And in doing so, I will be leaving behind my new
family, home, the two cities I have fallen in love with, friends, and experiences.  

It's been 8 months. Those 8 months were full of experiences, hardships, opportunities, and life lessons.   I would love 
to say that " Nunca olvidaré" which means "I will never forget." However, the truth its: I, like most students, did not keep a journal in my hand, and a pencil behind my ear in order to document my experiences hour by hour, day by day.  Most of the hilarious Jokes and deep conversations, will be forgotten. I may forget some people, and some of them will most likely forget me.  However, those experiences happened, jokes were told, tears from sadness or happiness flowed. It is set in the past.  I have my blog, my limited but insightful personal journal entries, my memories, my pictures, and the friends with whom I will maintain contact to help remind me of what I did during my 10 months abroad.  

I will comeback to Spain.  I will go back to Sevilla.  To see Semana Santa and finally get to Feria and reunite with my friends.  To walk the same streets I did when I was 16.  I will make that drive to Malaga and take a deep breath when I see the ocean.  It will feel like coming home after a long trip to my other home in America.  Sevilla, Malaga, and Milwaukee.  They all feel familiar. I feel safe and happy to be home in all three. I could not imagine my life without them.

I, like many other students, have kept slight tabs on my friends back home via Facebook, Twitter and email.  I also, like every other AFSer abroad, wonder if they have forgotten about me. Even if it doesn't matter to me that much. Still we wonder.  Some probably don't miss my absence.  Some may wonder what I am doing right at that second.  What I would like them to know is that even though I preferred to be in Spain, I still wish I could have shared some of the typical American junior year experiences with them.  

I know I know I know that it's coming.  These few questions.  When I get home,  I will forever be asked these simple but incredibly annoying questions.
1. How was Spain?  Did you have fun?
2. What was your favorite part? Your least?
3. Would you do it again?  Even after knowing all that you've gone through?  

I have been thinking about how I can answer these questions with poise and grace without sounding like an annoyed snapping turtle.  I can't lie to you guys.  Even though I will appreciate being asked about one of the most important experiences in my life with genuine interest, a sense of  curiosity, and good intentions, it will test my patience.  I just didn't spend a year abroad.  I got a new life.  I lived in a new and different way. I made another life.  I did not stay the same person.  I changed drastically.   So as of right now I promise to have fully formed responses already practiced and recited so many times that it will feel as normal as breathing when I have to respond.  
1. How can I possibly tell you a story in a few moments when it took ten months to write it.  Of course I had fun.  But I cried, I was frustrated, I wanted to come home, I didn't want to leave, etc.  If you have a few extra minutes go read my blog. Those entries may offer incredible insights to what I did during my year.  If you want, I can come over and show you my pictures.  I would be happy to tell a story of one of the experiences I had.  Like the time when someone told me I was starring at a bunch  of famous people at a restaurant. But couldn't distinguish between 'los famosos' and the waiters.  
2. I can't tell you the best part.  Because that answer doesn't exist.  I had thousands of tiny but precious moments with friends.  I made memories.  I will never forget the night I went to my best friend's birthday party in the countryside in  Sevilla.  I had thousands of horrible experiences.  Switching families, the harsh reality of loosing friends.  My first day of school.  Again, read the blog.  It probably can tell you more than I can.  
3. Of course I would do it again.  Along with all the unpleasant moments I went through. There is no other experience that exists on the plant that could sway my mind.  From getting into creative discussions with the people with whom I did not see eye to eye, to climbing 'Las Setas' in Sevilla to look out over the gorgeous city, to seeing a play acted out at the ancient Roman amphitheater in Italica, to roaming around London with my classmates to drinking tea and eating the best gelato in Malaga with my best Spanish friend Mariam and my Spanish mother.  Like the quote from an unknown author says, "A bend in the road is not the end of a road, unless you fail to make the turn."  

I have made friends from all over the world.  I can't wait for the day that we will be reunited again.  Maybe I will go to Japan to see Kyo and Akria, or travel to Turkey to see San, visit Slovakia to hang out with Ivana.
I have really good American friends here in Malaga with me.  Ally and Julian.  However we are all from 3 separate parts of the United States.  Ally lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut on the east coast, I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the Midwest, and Julian lives in San Francisco, CA on the West Coast.  I have made friends from Alaska, all the way to Virginia.  Ya never know who you will see walking down the street in Chicago or NYC.  

Of course I will carry my habits from Spain to America.  As I have carried my habits from America to Spain.  I will be modified by another culture yet again (expect this time it is MY culture that will be changing me).  Maybe I want to take Siesta like in Spain.  I will want my 'heart healthy' all American breakfasts once again.  (If I don't go out to breakfast the first day I'm back, someone will suffer) I will want to go out later and sleep in later like in Spain; however, I can't do that.  I will be able to drive again.  But I probably won't ever take the buses in Milwaukee.  I will miss the buses, taxis, and the metro in Spain.  

I have two lives.  One here in Spain.  One in America.  The Harsh reality.  I can't have both.  And even when I return to my American Family and friends, my American life will not be the same as it once was. Even when I return to Spain, I can't have the same life as I did before.  My life in America won't be the same because it will be affected by my Spanish life and vice-versa.  I already know I will consciously and unconsciously mix the two lives together. I will continue on living "Sin prisas, sin pausa" which means " Without rush, without pause."

That's all for now.  Another deep post full of feelings and thoughts I have had during this past week.  I hope you all are having a great weekend. 


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