As my time abroad comes to an end, I’ve realized that each week here I began to miss different, and sometimes random, things about living in the U.S. or just the U.S. in general. Here’s my story of my top 6 weekly desires and longings while abroad.
Week one. Running through my head that first week (besides shock and the strongest desire to adjust to a new Spanish family as quickly as possible) was a serious longing for English speakers. I missed that daily conversion with people speaking my first language and always knowing exactly what people were saying. It was a little difficult adjusting to the fast pace of Spanish speakers and not knowing some of the vocabulary or slang. It felt like I was like I was running beside a car going 50 mph every single time I tried to speak to someone.
Week two. Home, my bed, etc. At the beginning of this week I woke up throwing up because of something I had eaten the night before and all I wanted was to be somewhere comfortable. At home, in my bed, with an Icee and my cat. It isn’t fun being sick abroad, especially when you don’t have the things you’d normally eat to feel better. However, my host family was so generous and sincere and really took care of me during this time.
Week three. Missing my family is something always on my mind, but because I go to school away from home anyway, that wasn’t my week three of what I missed or longed for. Missing family or friends is rather different than missing animals because they KNOW where you’re going, when you’ll be back, etc. So, week three was me really missing my cat. Before leaving, as those last few weeks in the U.S. came to an end, I was always around her and she was like my shadow, always following me wherever I went. It’s a sad thing, leaving an animal, because they don’t understand the concept of where you’re going or when you’ll be back.
Week four. William and my family. While I was in Spain, having the time of my life, I did find myself thinking that I wished my family and boyfriend were with me. I would see things that reminded me of them, or go somewhere and really wish that they could have been with me. And it would have been wonderful having my love by my side on this amazing adventure, so my family and boyfriend are week four of what I missed back in the U.S.
Week five. For some reason, after a while I was really craving a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Constantly, all day, every day. For about two weeks straight. You think I’d be craving steak…or pizza…but no, peanut butter and banana sandwich. Peanut butter is not typical of Spain either, so I had to just push that craving to the back of my head.
Week six. During this last week, a million thoughts have been rushing through my head. Leaving Spain. Leaving my host family. Leaving my four sweet dogs here. Not getting tapas with beer anymore. Not getting to shop for all of these clothes that are so much more my style. Having to drive everywhere back in the states. The food. The views. My favorite bar here. And so much more. While my mind has been racing, and I’ve almost started crying three times now (yes, I’m keeping track) because I really don’t want to leave, I’ve realized that I already am beginning to miss my life here. Studying abroad in Cuenca has been life-changing and one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It’s hard to express how much my heart has grown with love for other cities, people, animals, life here in general, everything. I already don’t want to leave because I know, now, and understand that returning to the U.S. will be just as much of a culture shock as when I first arrived in Spain.
Today, one of our USA Spanish professors told me to think about a famous quote whenever I got sad about being back in the U.S. -
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
And it’s true. What a beautiful way to think about it. What a sweet reminder of the amazing opportunity I was given and worked so hard for.