Sunday, October 11, 2009

El regreso - Coming Home

I was scheduled to return back to the USA on Wednesday, May 13th. The last day was probably the hardest day out of an entire academic year abroad. I didn’t want to believe that I would have to leave the sunshine, the beauty, the food, the culture, and my friends.

I still believe that my year abroad was the most enjoyable year I have had so far, I learned so many things, met so many people, and had so many new experiences. I traveled to places like London and Morocco within the same month. I enjoyed every day of my Spring semester without exception and most of the days of Fall semester minus about 5 days of difficult culture shock experiences but I don’t regret those in the slightest. So, with all of these good things in mind I was literally in hysterics the entire night before I had to leave. I had to make an international call to home to tell my mom, “ I really don’t want to leave, I’m sorry I know I have to, but I don’t want to and just to warn you I’m probably going to be really sad when I get home… but I’ll be okay”.

That dreaded day of departure came; I woke up at 4am got my bags together, turned in my keys and caught a 20€ taxi to the airport. I cried the whole way. When I arrived I didn’t see anybody I knew. I felt so alone. I went to check in for my flight and they told me that my flight had been cancelled so I needed to go talk to somebody else. I went to go work out the problem and I saw a girl from my program. Evidentially we were supposed to be on the same plane, but it was totally cancelled. We both cried and tried to figure out what to do. Eventually I inverted my perception and realized that this was a blessing in disguise. I could have one more day in Seville and catch the flight back on the following day! So I called one of my friends who was renting an apartment in Seville for the summer, hopped on a 2€ bus back to the city, and was able to enjoy all of the things I thought I would not experience for a long time: caf√© con leche (coffee) Spanish hot chocolate, the cathedral, the main square, good friends, and everything else that I was sad to give up. I sat and watched people for about an hour and realized that the cancelled flight was an answer to my prayer. I certainly wasn’t ready to leave on Wednesday May 13th. On Thursday morning I woke up at 6am and my friend walked me to the bus; there was no way I was paying another 20€ to get back to the airport. As we sat together waiting for the bus I realized again how perfect this experience was: to be able to be seen off to the airport after a wonderful extra day in the place I wasn’t ready to leave. I got on the bus after some big goodbye bear hugs and smiled through the tears as I waved goodbye to my friend and my City.