I’m writing this a week in advance because I know it’s going to take me a few hours to put my thoughts together, and crying intermittently while writing holed up in my home is not how I want to spend my last days in Sevilla.
I’m leaving Sevilla in a week.
I. am leaving Sevilla. In a week.
I’m not prepared. I mean. I am. But I’m not.
This is the greatest blog ever I know.
I’m prepared in that it’s one of those givens in life and I’ve known that since before I left:
Tom Brady is a dirty cheat, Finding Nemo is the best Pixar movie of all time, and I have to say goodbye to Sevilla.
But I’m not prepared in that….I’m not prepared.
My life has become a before and an after.
Before= I was a junior in college, I called Indy home, and my entire existence revolved around going to Spain.
After= I am now a senior in college, I will call Indy home once more, and my entire existence revolves around returning to Spain (and graduating but minor point).
The problem comes in trying to read between the surface lines of the before and the after and trying to analyze myself as a person in that before and after, trying to put how this experience has shaped me into tangible details.
Who was I before, and who am I now?
One of my favourite lines in musical theater comes from the musical, “Wicked.” Near the end, one lyric reads,
“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
I don’t think I could choose a more appropriate phrase to describe what has happened to me in these last five months.
As I say goodbye to the city I adore and the places that have become as familiar as those in Indy, I spend more time contemplating the changes that have occurred here:
1. I hold a newfound appreciation for the American university system. Someone slap me the next time I complain about anything to do with school (especially finals). I will never know fear again as I did walking into my final exam (on which rests my entire course grade) for History of Modern Spain.
2. I hold my head a little higher. When you step off a plane in a country full of strangers, you lose the privilege to be shy/quiet/timid/uncertain/passive/insert similar adjective of choice here. I have slept in an airport overnight, ordered food items blindly in German, and sat in an hour-long class four days a week listening to a professor speak rapid-fire Spanish without taking a breath. Nothing can phase me anymore. The confidence I have had to place in myself I hope is here to stay because I kind of like who I am with it.
3. I hold more respect for immigrants. Walking into Margarita’s house for the first time and understanding maybe a quarter of what she was telling me about house rules and how everything worked was nerve-wracking. And she was just trying to explain how the shower worked. I’ve had support at every step of the way while trying to navigate the Spanish language here. I can’t imagine stepping off a plane or out of a car or off a boat and not only not having the support, but having to figure out things like housing, finances, laws etc. immediately in a language that is not my own.
This has been the most incredible of adventures, and I try to remind myself that being on the constant verge of tears only symbolises just how incredible it was.
The goodbyes started weeks ago as my friends in my program began to leave Sevilla. While I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to stay longer than expected and happy with my decision to do so, it’s been strange to see pictures and posts from friends who have returned to their own “before” lives that we all aren’t a part of.
Some goodbyes have yet to pass. If I’m honest, the remaining goodbyes hurt just a bit too much to write about publicly right now and I dread the “after” more than anything.
Those are the moments when I can do nothing but remind myself how wonderful the upcoming reunions in Indy will be (and in my mom’s case, the reunion that came two weeks ago! :). How much I can’t wait for my favourite smoothie as MoJoe’s and Panda Express’ orange chicken (I’M COMING FOR YOU), for movie nights with my friends aka talking through the whole thing, for hugging my parents good night, for cellphone data (omg 24/7 internet and no interrupted conversations???), etc etc etc.
I remember that as much as I can’t breathe sometimes when I contemplate leaving Sevilla and saying goodbye to the special people here, I’m so excited to say “hello” once again to everyone I left behind.
And I remember that goodbyes weren’t forever when I left Indianapolis and they won’t be forever when I leave here.
I remember that I’m lucky to be living in an age of technology, where a screen can’t replace an embrace, but it’s the next best thing.
More than anything, I remember that I’m so grateful to have had the chance to add Sevilla to the list of cities I call home.
Indy first, obviously.
Mexico City next (and if I’m honest, probably the nearest to my heart as it started the dream that has led me to Spain and given me my travel bug).
And now Sevilla.
I remember that I am insanely fortunate to have three homes now. To have known three cities intimately and formed lifelong connections in each. To have memories attached to so many different places.
Home is where the heart is, so they say, and thus I happily leave my heart in pieces around the world.