As the classic cliché tells us, all good things must come to an end. It’s crazy to believe that this incredible, life-changing month is over and that I’m going home now. So little will have changed there, while I feel that I’ve changed so much. Living in a different country on your own for a month is a really intense experience, and it has taught me a lot about myself and the world. Aside from the obvious general broadening of my worldview, I have now experienced the full effects of culture shock and homesickness, navigated new cities with little semblance of a plan, and proven to myself that I am far stronger, more independent, and more capable than I ever would have believed. All in a foreign language!
While I am ready to go home and see my family again, leaving Granada feels remarkably nostalgic. When the wave of bittersweet emotions began to hit over the last few days, I made sure to take my time meandering around the city and visiting all my favorite places once more before I left. I have fallen in love with this city, its winding streets, its fascinating history, and its charming people. I’ll miss the fun personalities of my professors, the Arcadia staff, and my host family. I’ll miss all the old architecture and cobbled roads. I’ll miss the constant summer sunshine and lack of humidity. I’ll especially miss all the free tapas. The culture of Spain is one of welcome and warmth, and living here has been indescribably wonderful.
I have also fallen even more in love with the Spanish language. The effect of living in a Spanish-speaking country has had on my brain is both really interesting and kind of hilarious. In the last seven years that I’ve spent studying Spanish, I have either been in English mode or Spanish mode (once I reached sufficient fluency), never with any in-between. Now, both languages are flirting with each other inside my head at all times. I can’t spell anything anymore, and sometimes I lose the word for something in one or both languages. Sometimes I mix the languages when I speak and just start spouting Spanglish. When I was talking with my mom one night, I was forcing myself to translate into English from the Spanish in my head! I’ve really enjoyed this side effect of living in Spain, and I don’t want to lose it just yet. I suppose I’ll just have to find ways to keep practicing the language at home.
While there is much I will miss about Spain when I go home and am experiencing reverse culture shock, I don’t believe this is goodbye. I love this beautiful country too much not to come back. I know that I’ll come back to Granada one day and greet my old home with a smile. Therefore, the bittersweet ending to this month is not an “adios,” but simply “hasta luego.”