To be honest I have been dreading writing this blog entry. I have had no clue how to sum up my entire study abroad experience. I have had no clue how to write about leaving Spain without leaving tears on my keyboard. It is hard to know how to even begin so I will try to do my best.
When thinking about study abroad we all think about our last days at home before leaving to a new country and we think about the amazing experiences we will have while we are there. However, we rarely ever think about what things will be like once we get back home after having lived in a foreign country. The experiences we have in different places change who we are. They change how we think and act, they affect our morals and goals. After living in a new place for a year I can say that I am not the same person I was twelve months ago when I left the United States for Madrid, Spain. I do not think or act the same way. I do not want the things I once wanted. I was scared to come home. Now, after having been home for some time I can say that some days are easier than others. Sometimes I wake up completely content, completely happy to be back with my friends and family and to be living my old life. But, sometimes I wake up and realize that my new home and new friends are on the other side of the world. Coming home can be best described as bittersweet. I am so happy to do and see the things that I have missed so much, but at the same time I am sad. I miss everything about Madrid: the atmosphere, the food, the lack of customer service, the dirty restaurant floors and most of all my friends. Right before leaving Madrid my roommate and good friend explained to me that if our year abroad lasted forever the experiences and friendships that we had would not hold the same importance to us. That we cherish our time in Madrid so much and it is so much more special to us because we know it will end. He essentially explained that all good things must come to an end.
Coming home is hard and it is even harder to talk about, which is probably why we never hear much about it. Even though it’s not easy, even though I still long for Spain every day I know that all I can do at this point is be happy for the experience that I had and feel grateful to have a home and group of friends on the other side of the world. In just a few short weeks I will be starting my senior year at IU. Like most seniors, I do not know what my future will hold nor do I know where I will be. However, I do know that I will always have two places to call home.