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Farewell

by Carmella Schwab

The girls in the Plaza de Espana

 

I have come to love this culture that I will soon be leaving. It has been a wonderful blessing that Angelita welcomed Kamaria and I into her home and her family. I love all my professors, classes and new friends.

I was honored when my culture professor asked me if I could come teach 2 little girls English for the semester. It was depressing to explain to her that I was only here for the January Term. And she wasn’t the only person to say that I should stay. A few adults and classmates said I would be a good fit here. And I was definitely tempted to drop everything and make arrangements to stay the whole spring semester! I know multiple people that studied abroad and then stayed much longer than they planned. But I have too much waiting for me at home right now so it will be my next goal to visit Spain again!

It’s nice to have all the touristy adventures but thinking back, I would have liked to meet some Spanish students my age and really talk with them to see Spain from their perspective. I guess that’s the issue with such a short but wonderful time abroad!

students Seville Sevilla Spain

Sevilla

The last week of traveling was both exciting and exhausting! I’m glad we saw all the highlights of Andalucia: Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada (and La Mancha) and then Madrid! They kept us moving! My talent for falling asleep on any moving vehicle came in handy for the bus rides in between cities. The cathedrals and mosques were unbelievable. And every time I see the Sierra Nevadas they take my breath away. My mom was a genius when she told me to pack everything I need for the 4 day excursion in my carry on and not to open my suitcase – it worked out perfectly! And by my last day I had just enough Euros for a taxi in the morning. And the hotels we stayed at know how visitors like big breakfasts – I hadn’t realized how much I missed my egg sandwiches!

map walking Madrid Spain

Our walk across Madrid

My favorite part of the trip was “dragging” Kamaria entirely across Madrid to go to the Prado and the Reina Sofia Museums (both for free!) and navigating back. My never-ending energy and enthusiasm drove us to power walk about an hour there and an hour back and it was worth every step! After taking the art history class where we learned about Picasso, Velazquez and Goya, the art museums were so exciting. We recognized quite a few paintings and realized we understood more than we thought possible when we explained paintings to each other. We have unique tastes and remembered different aspects of every painting and it was thrilling to compare. I could see why artists spend a lot of time here. It’s crazy to think that these paintings were once in front of their famous painters being created; it was a little bit magical and definitely inspiring. And we had to keep moving to see most of the Prado and only a part of the Reina Sofia. It is a must see for anyone visiting Madrid. I only wish I could have seen the soccer stadium as well!

Getting back home, everyone wants to know all the stories and adventures. But it was more than sight-seeing; it was a life-changing experience and the process of change is really hard to explain. I hope more students get the chance to experience for themselves what I have been blessed to see in this adventure. I can’t begin to put into words the way Spain has opened my eyes and made me think twice about the way we live. I have loved every moment of this trip and I hope that I can meet up with the friends I’ve made a few years from now and reminisce, or just visit Spain again!

 

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