It was just an ordinary night.
We ordered hamburgers, turned on a movie and sat on the two cream-colored couches in the family room. The only exception was the newly added Christmas tree, with its multi-colored lights twinkling in rhythm.
But as I walked up the stairs to have one final night in my room, the butterflies finally began to flutter and I realized my time in Seville, Spain, had finally come to an end.
As I snuggled into my bed, staring at the Marilyn Monroe portrait hanging on the pale blue wall, a flood of images ran through my head.
I rode a camel on the coast of Tangier, Morocco, and enjoyed a day of feasting, dancing and henna tattooing in the mountainous town of Chefchaouen.
I hiked the coast of Italy, a place I always dreamed of visiting as a kid. I saw the tombs of three prominent historical figures — Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.
I tried octopus and snails (which are actually quite delicious, by the way). I learned how to make a Spanish tortilla. I graffiti painted along the river.
I saw the famous Alhambra I spent last semester studying. I finally had my Lizzie McGuire moment and rode around Seville on the back of a motorcycle.
I conducted my first interview in Spanish and wrote my first bilingual story.
I met a fashion designer from Germany, who reminded me of the importance of humility. I learned how to adapt to different countries, different cultures and different values. My language partner became one of my best friends in Seville.
And above all, I now have a second family who has assured me I have a home here forever, and I can return whenever I please.
It seems a little strange to use the saying, “It’s not about where you are, it’s about who you’re with,” to describe a study abroad experience. I mean, the whole point is about where you are, right?
In my short life, I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to five of the seven continents. I have collected a handful of countries, but more importantly, I have collected a handful of friends.
“Having a goal is generally deemed a good thing, the goal of something to strive toward,” Ryszard Kapuscinski said. “This can also blind you, however: you see only your goal, and nothing else, while this something else — wider, deeper — may be considerably more interesting and important.”
One of my teachers started and ended the semester with this quote. We always seem to put emphasis on knowing early on what exactly we want to do in life, having a plan to do it and sticking to said plan. But sometimes, when we enter a situation with absolutely no idea what it is we’re looking for, is when we find the most.
Thank you, Seville, and see you soon.