I realized pretty fast once I was back in the states how much I talked about Spain. Everything someone said I had the response, “Oh my gosh in Spain, they don’t have blah blah blah, it was so crazy!” or “Oh that’s cool, I did that while I was in Spain too!” At first I didn’t realize it. But then my family – especially my lovely sister – kept pointing it out to me. And compared me to Howard from The Big Bang Theory when he came back from space. Spain this, Spain that. I felt bad for a little while, and I would try to hold back things I wanted to say about Spain. And then I just decided to own it. Howard and I have each done something really cool! And we should have every reason to brag and talk about it. Even if it may annoy people sometimes. 🙂
Spain changed my life in so many ways. I can’t even imagine where I would be right now if I didn’t decide to journey across the pond for 10 months. I learned so much about myself, other cultures, and saw a new part of the world. I wouldn’t change anything about my time in Spain, and I hope I am able to return one day soon.
So, ready to hear the main reasons why I won’t shut up and don’t plan to shut up about Spain?! Okay good. Here they are:
1. I fell in love with a new culture.
Dinner at 10:00PM? Sure! Using the train as my main mode of transportation? Okay! Greeting people with two kisses instead of a handshake? Count me in! (Also convenient when you meet someone who you think is cute… you already get to kiss them! haha) Were things weird at first? Absolutely. The first time I saw pig legs hanging up in restaurants, I was a little freaked out. But the more I saw them, the more normal they became. Also, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of staying out at night until 6am. And oh was that challenging to accomplish. But I did! And now I consider myself a Spaniard. Hahaha kidding. 😉 Were there also some cultural aspects I never really got used to? Of course! But it was all new. And as much as new things scare me, I loved every second of it!
2. I fell in love with a new language.
I studied Spanish in high school, and took a few classes in college. Actually, not only did I take Spanish classes in high school, I was highly active in the language department. I ended up taking AP and was Vice President of the Spanish club. Yeah, I was that cool. But yet, when I got to Spain I couldn’t remember how to say anything which made me feel really stupid. Luckily I was enrolled in a foreign language school, and I caught on to everything again very quickly. I gained a new love for a different type of learning. I looked forward to going to school everyday and sit there for three hours and just learn/listen/ and talk Spanish. It was crazy because I was so excited to be done with school, and I was not really looking forward to going back to school five days a week for three hours. But once I advanced in my Spanish class, I wished I was in class for longer. I loved everything about learning a new language. It is the most fascinating thing ever. It helped that my professors were absolutely amazing. They made class so much fun and they really got to know you on a personal level.
3. I learned about myself.
I realized that I am more shy than I thought I was, and I get intimidated in many situations. (Like asking for the wifi password in a restaurant. It doesn’t sound intimidating now but OMG IT IS!) But I also learned what I am capable of! I never really thought I would be able to give a 20 minute presentation in Spanish and feel completely comfortable while doing it. I always knew I was capable of doing what I set my mind to, but this experience solidified that. I learned that I am proud of who I am, and who I am becoming. Not very many 22-year-olds have the experiences I have had, and I think that is really cool and something to be proud of. Having your family and friends so far away makes you grow stronger. I experienced a really tough time in Spain when my grandma passed away. It was extremely hard to go through by myself with my family being eight time zones away. But I got through it and came out a stronger person.
4. I had an AMAZING host family.
I have heard HORROR stories with host families while being an Au Pair. I was insanely lucky that I was placed with the best family I could have ever asked for. They are the sweetest and they treated me like I was a part of their family. I still keep in contact with them and I am so blessed about the memories we shared through out my 10 months. And I can’t wait to go back and visit them! They will forever be my Spanish family. ❤
5. I had great opportunities to travel and meet new friends from all over the world!
Europe is such a fun place to have a home base! It makes weekend trips so easy. It was so simple to go to Rome one weekend to visit a friend, and then Germany the next. Everything in Europe seems so close, and the transportation is amazing that it makes traveling very easy. It’s so wonderful! And since I was in a language school for foreign students, I was able to make friends from all over the world. I created friendships that I know will last for a life time. And the best part about that is they were there in Spain experiencing the same things I was.
So, why can’t I stop talking about Spain?
BECAUSE I LOVE IT.
My experience was life changing. And by explaining it to people, I feel like I could impact them to be adventurous and try something new. To go somewhere you’ve never been and meet people you would never expect to meet. It’s times like those that we really truly see how amazing life can be.
❤ lil b