I leave Spain in the wee hours of Friday morning and yesterday I finished the last of my finals- so I can officially say that the study part of study abroad is over and the abroad part will be, very soon. I’m simultaneously excited, a little sad, and feel like it’s not happening at all, because it has been a relatively normal week and I’m curled up in my bed right now and I can’t quite believe that in two days everything that’s become everyday and routine here is going to disappear.
I’ll be spending Christmas with some family friends in Denmark, and then venturing to Amsterdam for New Years with a high school friend and wandering up to Ireland alone to explore where my mom’s family is from before finally flying home to the States in January. But all of that is my winter break, travelling, that I know will fly by- the semester itself is over.
I feel like I should be a little more nostalgic than I am, but maybe I feel good about leaving because I do feel like I accomplished all and more than I set out to this semester. I have a Spanish grandmother who I love and who even when there’ s continent and ocean between us I know I’ll keep in touch with. I got to travel a lot and see so many things I wanted to see (though my one regret is that with one thing and other I never got to see Madrid- see my last blog post….). And my Spanish is unrecognizable. I would by no means say that I can speak it like a native speaker, but I can talk about anything I want to, understand anyone (even though I sometimes have to ask people to repeat themselves or slow down, I think it counts) and speak without translating directly from English in my head as I go. Sure, sometimes I still mix up the words for sixty and seventy, but I can always correct myself. And recently I’ve had a lot of people asking me where I’m from, which means that my accent is not so markedly American anymore that they can’t tell just from hearing me speak! The accent thing was especially exciting for me. I feel like I’ve learned so much and I only hope that I don’t forget it all when I get back to the States… But regardless, I accomplished what I came here to do and I feel really good about that. It wasn’t always super fun, and sometimes it was downright miserable and extremely frustrating, but I never for a minute wished that I hadn’t come. On top of all that, I feel so much more confident in my ability to do things like traveling and navigating on my own, and the friends I made here have given me and taught me so much. So thank you CIEE, thank you Carmela, thank you Robin and Ashley, and thank you Spain… for everything!
And I’m WALLA WALLA BOUND IN TWENTY FOUR DAYS! Yes, I’m absolutely counting! I’ve missed you, Whitman.
Filed under: Claire Johnson's Study Abroad Blog