At this exact moment in time I am sitting in my cramped airplane seat flying over the Atlantic Ocean. My plane is at an altitude of 36,000 feet, we are going 507 mph, and we are approximately 2,203 miles from New York City. I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. In fact, it almost feels like just yesterday that I was sitting on my plane to Madrid eating the same mediocre airplane food. How is it possible that three and a half months could go by in the blink of an eye?
Don’t get me wrong, I am so beyond excited and ready to be home in the States. I miss my parents, sister, and the rest of my crazy/ amazing family, my bed, dogs, friends, and some good old fashion American Food (whatever that means). But I also don’t quite think I realized what it would actually mean to be sitting on a plane leaving a place that I had begun to call home. In fact, sitting in that taxi simply felt as if I were on my way to the airport about take another weekend trip. Only this time instead of being accompanied by my overstuffed backback, my travel companion was my severely overweight suitcase. But I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ll start from the beginning.
Yesterday at 7:30PM I finished my Spanish Civilizations final. It was the last final exam that I would have to take this semester. Meaning, when I turned that test into my professor I was officially a senior in college. Pretty terrifying. I then continued downstairs to a small gathering of our program. There were snacks, people were singing, and it just felt like any other ordinary day here in Sevilla.
Around 9:15PM Tori started to say her goodbyes to our new friends. I watched as she made the rounds, tears in her eyes as she gave her final hugs in the center. We walked the same way home that we always did; but this time took a quick pit stop on La Puente de Triana- our bridge- for a quick picture before dinner. It’s not that I wasn’t processing what was going on, but it took a little bit for all of it to sink in.
When we got home I walked into my room and was greeted by the glow of the yellow monster of a suitcase that still needed to be completed. I puttered around until dinner and then made my way out to my last meal with Tori and my absolutely amazing host mom. Per usual she laughed at me for being absolutely ridiculous, we talked about our flights home, and started to get misty eyed as we discussed the reality of leaving Sevilla and our trips coming to an end. Post-cena we had a little photoshoot with Señora because there was no way I could leave without a picture with that incredible human being.
I left to go out for the night and say goodbye to my friends. We met up at our favorite bar and started to reminisce about all of the memories that were created there. Nightlife in Sevilla (not Spain, SEVILLA) cannot be rivaled by any other place that i’ve traveled during these 3.5 months. As the hour grew later and the bar began to fill we made our way to a farewell party at a club about 15 minutes away from my house. We danced the night away to our favorite songs surrounded by the people that we had spent the entire semester getting to know.
Before I knew it, it was time to start the goodbyes. Suddenly, reality set in. As I hugged my new friends goodbye I started to realize that there was the chance that I would never see some of them again. In a few short months I became closer to these people than I ever could have imagined possible. We promised college visits and weekly FaceTime dates as we sniffled our goodbyes as the rain started to fall.
I began my walk home to catch Tori before she left for the airport and few minutes later reached the bridge. My bridge. Only lit by street lamps and the refection of the moon in the river. I looked around at the city that became my home throughout the past semester. The tears began to sting my eyes as I realized that this was the last time that I would be standing on that bridge, looking at that river, in that beautiful city.
I do not even know how to begin the seemingly never-ending list of thank you’s that I have, but either way here is my best shot:
To my absolutely amazing host mom, Maria Josefa. Thank you so so much for not only letting me into your house but allowing me into your life. I can vividly remember arriving at your apartment on day one. I was terrified and could barely utter a Spanish sentence, let alone understand your thick Andalucian accent. Either way you smiled, gave me a hug, and told me that everything was going to be okay. Thank you for putting up with me for three and a half months and being totally okay with my goofy, quirky self at the dinner table. You never failed to put a smile on my face and make me laugh throughout the day. I honestly do not think I could have survived study abroad without you.
To my friends, my forever and always, familia de Sevilla. Thank you for sharing your friendship and memories with me for the past three and half months. I don’t necessarily know what I was expecting out of my friendships previous to my study abroad experience, but I know for a fact that I was not expecting all of you. Thank you for always singing along with me and embracing my constant need to randomly break out into dance. To my roommate, Tori. Thank you for being an amazing first friend and an incredible roommate. I will never forget our laughs (and sometimes slight terror) over what we could possibly be having for dinner and the super dumb but equally amazing shirts that resided next door at Lefties. To my wine and cheese girls (you know who you are) thank you for becoming like sisters to me during this trip. My weeks were incomplete when we didn’t have our heart to hearts. I don’t think I have ever become that close to anyone so fast and I cannot begin to thank you for being there during the hard times and best of times this semester.
To my dear Sevilla. Thank you for providing endless adventure and breath-taking beauty. One of my greatest fears before going abroad was not falling in love with the city that I chose to go to. Lucky for me, that was not the case. I will never not be in love with Las Setas even if I do think it looks more like a waffle as opposed to a mushroom. I will forever be captivated by the beauty that is the La Catedral and the stunning views from the top of La Giralda. Plaza de España, you will forever be the most amazing place I have ever seen in my entire life. Every time I visited I could not help but to think that I was on a movie set or living in some kind of dream.
A huge thank you to my family back home. Thank you for commenting on these silly blogs and for sending all of your love from across the Atlantic. I have missed all of you each and every day and I cannot wait to be home with all of you for a couple of months. Tons and tons of hugs and love to my sister, Holly. I know that me being gone for the past few months really has not been easy for you. Time zones are really hard sometimes. You have been amazing throughout this entire semester and I cannot wait to spend the summer with you!
Finally, the biggest thank you to my biggest supporters and the people who pushed me to believe that doing something like this was even possible. Mom and Dad, words will NEVER be able to suffice for how much this experience has meant to me. Your support and unfaltering love is at times overwhelming and I just want you both to know that I am forever grateful that you allowed me to have this experience. I know that the two of you were possibly more nervous than I was when I left four short months ago. But you never let that stand in the way of telling me that I could succeed in this adventure and phase of my life. I cannot wait to see the 2 of you in t-minus 3 hours!!! Thank you for giving me the gift of seeing the world.
There are a million and two more thank you’s that I could write but I can feel myself welling up on this airplane and I don’t want the people around me to think that i’m too insane. So now I sit here about to bring my last abroad blog post to a close. When I first started this blog I wasn’t sure if I would be able to complete it. It felt weird and unnatural to type these awkward and at times personal thoughts, send them off into the abyss, and wonder if anyone would ever read them. For those of you who have been with me every step of the way, I hope that you got some kind of enjoyment out of reading about what it is like to study abroad through my eyes. You put up with the quirky and embarrassing and more than likely the sentences that didn’t even make sense. If we are being honest, the fact that some of you made this far is more of an accomplishment on your part than it is on mine.
It’s kind of funny how stories have the ability to come full circle. When I sat on this flight on the 31st of January I was a mess of many different emotions. Now, here I am. Back on this flight again filled to the brim with mixes of feelings that I didn’t know I could feel at the same time. Saying goodbye to Sevilla was heart-wrenching but knowing that my family and friends are waiting for me on the other side of the Atlantic suddenly makes that goodbye okay. Going into this experience I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it. I questioned whether or not I was ready to conquer not just a new country but a new culture and language all by myself. Somehow I made it to the end, always with a smile on my face, and now ready to embrace more adventures that may come my way!
Sevilla, tiene mi corazon para siempre.
“Never say goodbye. Because saying goodbye means going away. And going away means forgetting.” -Peter Pan
So in that case. This isn’t goodbye Sevilla. But rather, until we meet again!
Hasta luego por la ultima vez,