Today is December 14, 2012. 4 days from now I will have said goodbye to my dear Pablo and Salud, have schlepped my things too many times to count, and be en route to Madrid for the first leg of my venture home.
Last you heard from me I was raving about Paris, and now I take a break from studying to reflect on the whirlwind of things going on during an already high-stress time in any college students life. Like any good blogger, I must share the difficult experiences same as I share my amazing ones.
This week has been a juggling act, an a very difficult one at that. I began my week prepared for the academic challenges ahead of me, as well as the sure to be interesting packing ones, all while anticipating the hectic running around of doing my favorite Sevillano things one last time. What I wasn’t prepared for was the huge wave of emotions flowing from one end of the spectrum to the other weaving themselves into this already stressful time. I’m pretty sure I’ve hit em all this week (at least the big ones anyway); anticipation, anxiety, excitement, jealousy, sadness, nostalgia, frustration, guilt, bliss, appreciation, annoyance, resentment…just to name a few.
You see I didn’t realize how leaving would truly affect me. At first I found myself going through the motions, and just agreeing with my friends with they carried on about how bitter-sweet it was going to be to leave, or how they were so totally ready to go and return home to everything they know and love. Then as my friends from Elon’s finals began to end, and they started their own journeys home, I became extremely jealous, wishing I could be the one en route to my loving family, big bed, and Strathmore bagel.
I threw myself into studying, finding every excuse to not be home and passing my time in my regular cafe, in the library, or at a friends apartment. With each time I threw on my backpack and called out “Me voy” to my host family, I saw Pablo’s face droop a little more each time, and would return home to his solemn comments of “You’re never home”, “You don’t talk to me anymore”, “You’re always out”, “You’re always studying”, comments that began to make me feel guilty for resuming to my normal finals week study schedule. I go to class, eat lunch, go to study, eat dinner, and by the time that dinner roles around my brain is so totally fried after being stuffed with democratic transition actors and comparative analysis points of Souther europe that it simply can not handle a causal conversation, an especially not in Spanish, something my roomates understand but my host family does not. I wasn’t used to having to juggle a family (with a huge language barrier), saying goodbye to all my friends (who I will most likely never see again) and a most perfect city all on top of exams. And it was / is emotionally exhausting. I started to feel like an outsider in my own home again, as if I was no longer welcome, which deep down I knew will never be true. But this feeling of being resented only led to my even more frequent absence from home, to the point that today I ate all my meals out with friends.
Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, I called the one person I knew could help me figure this all out, calm me down, and give me the perfect advice on how to handle the situation… Dad. Getting to sit down and chat with him was like a breath of fresh air. Finally someone who I could talk to about what was going on that would truly understand and help me out. I would try to talk to friends here about it, but with all of us going through the same thing we are all kind of helpless right now. Our long much needed chat ended with Salud’s sing song voice calling my name from the living room for dinner, so I reluctantly said goodbye to Dad and off I went to dinner with a new attitude and determination to make the most out of these last few days in my home stay. I realized that while I am forced with having to say goodbye and leaving this beautiful city, my new friends, and especially my amazing second family, they are also faced with goodbyes. They have come to be my family, who I know deep down care about me, and who I care about too. By realizing that it is going to be extremely difficult for me to say goodbye to them, I also realized that they have a hard goodbye of their own.
I sat down to dinner with intentions of quickly eating and rushing off to meet friends at the bar, but found myself lingering. I enjoyed each bite of Salud’s expert cooking, commenting on her latest Christmas decorations, laughing at Pablo’s never ending appetite, and teasing Pongo into doing tricks for pieces of bread. Tonight was a family night, and I know that come January when I am missing Spain and the Ruiz’s, I will be happy I set aside this night to spend with them.
Friends I cannot wait to see all of you in just a few days, it feels like I have been gone forever and I fall asleep each night now to picturing how amazing it is going to be to get my passport stamped and step through those doors back into the United States of America. 4 more days. And I intend to make the most of them.
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY AMERICA.