Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Year

I know I've been kind of AWOL from the blogging world for the past month and I apologize to all of my fans out there who have been waiting anxiously for more posts (hey Mom). The winter break was a lot of fun. My family came and visited me in Granada and it was awesome to show them around town and give them a taste of what my life is like on this side of the Atlantic. After that Kelsey came after her program in London ended before heading back to the States and I really enjoyed having her here and doing all the touristy things I had done. By that point I knew my monuments of Granada pretty well and I think I made a pretty good tour guide for the time she was here. Anyways, now that I'm back from my brief respite from this blog which I've been so adamant about updating, I'm realizing that the New Year has given me some perspective about my time abroad thus far:

1. Learning a language is hard. You can go months at it and feel like you haven't really improved very much when all of a sudden you realize that you have learned more than you thought... which is both good and frustrating at times. But i guess that's life.

2. Based off that last statement, I will never take for granted how much easier everything is when you are fluent in a language, whether it be going to the movies, asking for directions, making small talk in an elevator, trying to talk in a loud bar, etc. Luckily by now I am feeling comfortable with doing all of these and simply living in a country where I am not fluent. Partly because my Spanish has improved and partly because I have grown more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

3. Which brings me to my next point, being comfortable with the uncomfortable is a very good thing. There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as living in a country where the people speak gibberish (luckily I've moved past this phase but nonetheless my point remains). But after a while of forcing myself to enjoy that feeling of discomfort I can truly say that there is a part of me that likes that nervousness and feeling of discomfort now and I'm proud of that. I think it's something that a lot of people don't necessarily have.

4. Living in Spain feels far more independent than going to college ever did. When I first went to college in the States I felt incredibly independent moving away from home but a big part of me still felt tied to home (which was really nice). It's not that I don't feel tied to home now, but that I just feel more independent on a larger scale. I'm planning trips to other countries, living with semi-random Spaniards in a city my family and friends had never seen until this last month. It's definitely a strange sensation.

5. Which brings me to my last point. Living abroad is more independent but also more difficult. I have absolutely loved my experience here in Spain and there have been so many truly incredible aspects to it so far. Nonetheless, living in a foreign country is also very difficult. While I love experiencing and learning this new culture I think it's easier to get more homesick over time because you're missing out on the things that make you comfortable, whether that be your home and family and friends or something less important like an American cheeseburger. Either way, I have no regrets about being here so far but I'm realizing also how important my home is to me as well in a lot of ways.

1 comment:

  1. You've had an experience unlike any I've ever had. Difficult to say the least! I still remember the one time I was in Europe--going to brother Brian's wedding in Denmark. When changing planes in Copenhagen, I tried to ask a question and got some rude replies. I felt very foreign and lost! And yet my mom and sister were with me and I was on my way to see a family member.