The time has come for my final blog post – at least for ¨Lane in Spain¨. Unfortunately my life in the United States isn´t nearly exciting enough to write a weekly blog. That just means I´ll have to take another trip around the world to keep this going.
I guess this is where I´m supposed to wrap up my last four months abroad – what have I learned, how have I changed, what will I do next, etc. Is it possible that four short months truly changed me?
My politics professor here would say ¨Joder (translated to mean: fuck), you Americans come here to drink, have sex, and spend your parents´money.¨ Clearly Spanish professors aren´t too familiar with the term ¨politically correct¨.
No offense to my great professor, but I´m going to call bull shit on that one. If I wanted to do those very things, I would have gone to Mexico and stayed for maximum of two weeks. Maybe my professor just got ¨study abroad¨and ¨spring break¨confused…
Those who choose to study abroad are truly unique. No one would ever study abroad if their life in the states was perfect. That´s not to say that everyone I´ve met here is on their own personal self discovery, but I would say we are a specific type of people. We are seeking something – an understanding of the world, an awareness of other cultures, and so much more.
While my life in Barcelona has been pretty simple, there has been nothing ¨easy¨ about it. Every single time I walked out of my apartment I experienced discomfort. Whether it was communicating directions or trying to find whole wheat pasta or failing to understand Spanish cultural norms, I faced some sort of challenge. For whatever reason, we decided that this constant discomfort was worth the incredible experience.
And incredible it was. My life in Barcelona is the furthest thing from my life in San Diego…and yes, I´m referring to more than the distance between Spain and California. I walk everywhere. I sleep in. I appreciate beauty. I take in my surroundings. I don´t study…(just thought I should slip that one in there if I´m trying to be honest).
I went back and read my very first blog in an attempt to pin point ways in which I´ve changed over the last four months. And to be honest, there is not a blatant change (unless you count the rise in sarcasm in my writing). To any acquaintance, I am probably the exact same person they said goodbye to last summer. Actually, if they are an acquaintance, I doubt they said bye. They probably just ¨liked¨my ¨Off to Barcelona¨facebook status instead.
But I think my close friends and family might notice slight changes. I´ve loosened up, destressed, branched out, and become far more independent. There is nothing all that surprising about these shifts. The Spanish culture calls for a laid back approach to life. And tackling public transportation systems in seven different languages calls for a bit of independence.
Beyond personality tweaks, my most significant change is how I view the world and my future. People constantly tell me, ¨You are so lucky to have this experience.¨Not wanting to be rude, I smile and agree that I am quite blessed to be here. But there is nothing ¨lucky¨about this experience. It was simply my priority. I wanted to study abroad in Spain. I worked, saved, planned, and made it happen. It probably would not have been possible without my supportive family and nice little loan from the government, but I did make this happen. And I have discovered that this characteristic holds true with all people who travel. I have met more people than I can remember with all sorts of unique stories about where they´re from, why they moved, and where they intend to go.
Those who possess the need and desire to travel simply make it their priority. Granted my age plays a pretty big factor as well. Discovering my travel bug at age 20 is pretty convenient. The only person I truly must answer to is myself.
So six months ago, I had that devil-angel argument with myself about whether or not I should venture off to Spain. Despite a little reluctance from those closest to me, I decided the reward of moving to Spain was far greater than the risk of doing so before I ¨recovered¨from my little breakdown.
Now I know that traveling will forever be apart of my life. I intend to live abroad at some time in my future. My latest thought is grad school in London (I´m convinced I can develop a British accent at age 20), but there are countless paths I can take to move abroad. I have never been so aware of the worlds´countless opportunities, and I am thrilled knowing I can pursue every single one of them.
I basically just need to find something that combines all of my interests – politics, the Middle East, Spanish, writing, running, and law….so I can write to a Spanish law journal about my adventures of running through the Middle East?? Hmm, I think I´ll ponder that one a bit further.