I wanted May 14’s blog to be my last post, ending with the thought of precious life. But I realized, I left myself on the brink, far past the climax, but not quite to the resolution of this adventure.
As an experienced Forensicating interper, I know about story lines. The way dialogue or poetry weaves together the conflict rising dramatically to a breaking point that starts to simmer down until finally, finally, somebody understands. I think my last post left me simmering.
But now I understand that tomorrow, ironically the anniversary of my very first Atlantic-crossing, I leave Sevilla to begin my journey home.
And I couldn’t have asked for a better final day.
After finally finishing my very last paper last night, we women (and Dan) went out to celebrate at one of our favorite tapa places. Even though I went to bed late, I still woke up around 9 this morning to eat breakfast with my host parents and enjoy my last morning with them. One weekend every month they have to go to Córdoba to take care of my mom’s 98-year-old-and-still-feisty mom, and though they tried to change weekends because of my departure, they couldn’t get out of going this morning. So, we ate our toast and sipped our coffee, and my host dad recounted the days back when he was an Intellectual and wore a green vest everywhere. And then, before I knew it, he was squeezing me good-bye and out the door, and my mom was kissing me good-bye and out the door. And the words slipped from my lips for the first time ever: te quiero.
Our hasta luego was short and sweet, and afterwards, when I had the house to myself, I still felt numb. I showered and departed for my morning adventure. I spent time in the centro and then discovered the beautiful Museo de Bellas Artes before making one last stop at one of our favorite food places, Cien Montaditos. I got the olives I love and then went home to eat lunch with my sisters.
After lunch, I attempted to meet my friends at Isla Mágica, the amusement park here where our end-of-the-year-party for all the study abroad students at UPO was, but I had a little mishap. After all, what’s a full day in Sevilla without getting completely lost in the complexities of public transportation for an hour and 15 minutes? Not full at all.
I rode the first bus round-trip after missing my stop, which was actually a wonderful way to get in one last free tour of the city. However, when we arrived back to where we’d started, and I was *still* on the bus, I was a little frustrated, to say the least. I tried asking the bus driver which stop to use, but our communication was lacking, and he sent me to a different bus of the same route, where I paid another euro and 30 cents to take the same free tour of the city. This time, with the help of some friendly people on the bus, I got off at the right place and had time to ride a roller coaster before meeting our group.
For the next 2-3 hours, we students milled around, eating, drinking, laughing, taking pictures, and saying our hasta luego’s (it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later in Spain). It hasn’t fully hit me yet how much I’m going to miss my classmates here, but truly, they have helped make this experience incredible, and anytime I think of my life in Spain, I will think of them.
I got home a little after 10 and then around 11, I went out with my intercambio and dear friend Ana to eat a little and catch up, since we hadn’t talked in weeks. All the bars’ kitchens had closed, so we were forced into McDonald’s, and we enjoyed a good conversation. She even gave me a bag of Kit-Kat bars for my trip home! Walking back, the sky was clear, the air was refreshing, and the night, perfect. We finally got a few pictures together, and then it was time to part with her.
I sat in the garden for a little while tonight (until the sprinklers shot me out of my bench), praying and reflecting on this semester. This blog holds a record of all my challenges, struggles, lessons, joys, and successes, so I won’t repeat myself. To my readers, thank you SOOO much for following me this semester and supporting me through prayers and encouragement. I’ve not only loved writing as much as I could, but also I’ve needed this outlet for all of my questions and thoughts and reflections. For this reason, I’ve decided to continue blogging once I return to the States, although I will leave this one as it is and start a new one. I’ll publish details on Facebook:)
After all, just because the plane lands doesn’t mean my journey has to end. The part of my life where I lived in Spain is now coming to a close, but the part of my life where I lived continues with every beat my heart has to offer. And it’s a heart that’s whole, regardless of where it’s been and where I’ve left it. It’s whole because it’s God’s, and He is always with me.
Looking back upon my 2012 Resolutions…
1) Don’t care so much about what others think of me.
2) Become fluent in Spanish.
3) Stop texting in the presence of other people.
4) Break out of my comfort zone.
5) Remain faithful in the little things.
6) Be more concise……….(alright, that lasted a second).
7) Be aware of God’s presence in my life, even and especially in Spain, and strive to maintain a never-ending conversation with my best
…I can say with certainty that I have realized #7. I can say with equal certainty that I have failed #6. #5 is and will always be a work in progress, especially when it comes to “doing the little things” like the homework I never feel like doing. I’ve learned a lot about time-management, at least. I would say that the minute I stepped on the plane to come here, I completed #4, and have only continued following it since. After all, I wore bright pink jeggings today. I have become Ashley with a confidence I’ve never known before. #3 has been fairly irrelevant to my life so far. #1 is related to #4 and improves every time I defeat another insecurity.
And as for #2, my primary goal and reason for coming to Spain, I do believe I have quite achieved it. I’m not saying I’m an expert or speak Spanish like a native. Far from it. But I have come to a level of fluency that is only just beginning to fling open the doors of communication for me. I can’t wait to see what’s behind them!
There’s really not much more to say. God has blessed me with one of the most tremendously surreal and unforgettable experiences of my life, y ya está. This group below has overcome and undergone and changed and grown so close, and I know we will always share a unique bond, wherever we may go. In this moment, I can do nothing but praise my wonderful God and Friend who has led me through and will do so for the rest of my life.
So, Sevilla, gracias a tí por todo. In the words of that famous Californian actor and governor whom my host brother loves to imitate, “I’ll be back.” This is not the end.