Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Bittersweet End

It’s bittersweet this trip.  Life is bittersweet for that matter.  I’ve had so many good memories here, but I never really stopped to think that they would actually end one day.  I knew I would have to come home and face reality at some point, but having to do it by myself without all the people I’ve spent the last 105 days with??  Never thought about that.  How could I possibly imagine myself not seeing those same people every day?  Well I guess I have to now.

A few of my good friends from other study abroad programs are starting to leave and so we’ve had some “last night” celebrations to commemorate their time here in Sevilla.  We had a blast and took a lot of pictures, but it also marked the end of an experience.  I’ve become so used to seeing these people every day and going on adventures with them that to not have them here is a very weird feeling. 

For the second time this trip I’ve felt somewhat alone.  It’s a feeling I don’t usually get, but I definitely know what it feels like.  The first time I felt alone in this experience was when my mom and I parted ways in Madrid.  For the first time since my arrival in Spain I was truly on my own.  Yes I had my roommate to keep me company, but I still hadn’t made any great friends yet.  I had only been in Madrid one night so far and had only been with our ISA group a couple of times for meetings and sightseeing.  At last, the one thing that held any connection to my home in AZ, to my friends and family, and even to my country walked out the door.  I had nothing familiar to make me feel better when I needed a pick me up.  Small pictures from home and trinkets can only do so much…

Eventually when I started to make friends it didn’t hurt as much.  We were all in the same boat and all experiencing the same scared/excited feelings inside us.  We bonded over a pain of leaving home and everything you know, and over a sense of adventure that brought us all together in the first place.  The hole I felt inside was patched and slowly began to heal.  I wouldn’t say it’s completely healed even now, just because I have always kept the loved ones I have at home in my mind and in my heart.  Band-Aids can only do so much when you need stitches to truly heal.  Now don’t worry I’m not some depressed kid who only thinks about coming home and how much they miss their family.  No.  The hole I have inside is not a hole of emptiness or regret, it’s just the part of me that I left in AZ with the ones I love so they wouldn’t forget me.  Slowly as my friends and family start to come back to me, my missing pieces will return and my “normal” life will slowly start to stitch itself back together.

But now as some friends begin to leave, I see that a part of me has also left with them.  This time it’s not a part of my hole that they’ve taken with them, but emotions.  The experiences we shared here are all captured through photos and memories, but the thing you remember most when you look back at these photos and videos are the emotions you felt in that instant.  You may not remember the day or the time, but the feeling you felt inside is what triggers all the memories of that day.  They come to you in a rush…like a river that finally breaks free of the dam.  You lose control of your mind and give in to the sensation of time.  A time where you never forget and a time that brings a smile of recollection to you face.  You may not have seen those people for many years, but in that small instant, you remember just who they were and the laughs that you shared together.

For the second time here I am beginning to feel left again.  But this time when my friends leave I don’t feel abandoned or left to fend for myself miles and miles away…no this time when they leave I feel a type of happiness if you will.  I’m not happy that they’ve left, but I feel happy to have met them in my lifetime and happy to know that our memories will be forever linked in the photos we share and the experiences we’ve had.  It’s a bittersweet goodbye.  I know they have left Sevilla and many will probably never return in their lifetime, but I hold onto the hope that we will see each other again.     

As my adventures come to a close here on my study abroad experience I know I’ve made the best of the time that I’ve spent here and hope all the people I know can say the same.  I will keep these memories close to my heart forever, for the one thing that connects us is Sevilla.  Most of my friends are American and we live in the same country, but it took a leap of courage and an amazing city like Sevilla to bring us all together in one place at one time.  I had to travel 6000 miles to meet people from the same country as me, the same southwest region, and even the same state, but I’m glad I did.  To Sevilla I owe a great many thanks. 

Thank you Sevilla for bringing new friends into my life, for a new understanding of what it means to live, and for showing me that anything is possible.  Thank you Sevilla…for everything.          

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