Up In the Air
I’m incredibly lucky and blessed to say that everywhere that I’ve traveled within the last year has brought to amazing places, whether familiar or completely new. On December 25th, only a few days after I returned to New York City, I was told I didn’t have much under the Christmas tree…because I received a plane ticket to the Dominican Republic! “Can’t you stay in New York for more than five minutes?” said one of my friends when he heard of my new trip. This lovely trip down to my second homeland has been nothing but relaxing (70-degree sunny weather, hello!).
Having gone from one Spanish-speaking country to another has been immensely helpful in reaching my goal of perfecting my fluency. I often find myself caught between each country’s respective vernaculars, but even still I feel a whole lot bolder when I speak; My family and friends here like to pull my leg about pronouncing words with the Spanish lisp (which I don’t but I now know when to switch from zeta to “theta” haha!).
In my last week in Madrid, I met with the other New Paltz girls who attended UC3M and we bonded over some cheap, yummy tapas. I already miss some of the traditional Spanish food, but the girls and I agreed we would try our hand at some tortillas, huevos rotos, and patatas bravas once we get back to New Paltz.
Truth be told, I still have my laptop set to Madrid-time, partially because it makes talking to friends over there easier and partially because I’m sort of in denial that I need to settle back at home. In the short time I was at home in N.Y., I really missed taking my siesta—it’s more than just a nap in the middle of the day, it’s a fresh start to the rest of the day you have ahead of you. I also missed the sense of community and “mom and pop” shops—the sense of “mi casa es su casa” that all-too-busy New Yorkers seem to have forgotten. In Spain, hanging out in groups and in public spaces is encouraged as opposed to the very individualistic N.Y./U.S.A.
I would be lying if I said that studying abroad wasn’t stressful at some points, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, everything was so so so worth it. A few people expected me to be really sad upon returning and admittedly, I wasn’t. In the last year, I’ve traveled enough to say that it’s okay to miss people and miss places, but the best direction to move is forward. As much as I miss Spain, my mind is already set on having a successful semester back in New Paltz and saving up money to go back to Europe! I made amazing friends that I miss a lot, so it’s time for me to work hard to make some new memories. Could it be that I’m in a daze because I haven’t really settled back at home? Maybe or maybe not…so I’ll check back with you all in a few days 🙂