Hopkins is home because of the people. Almost immediately, I made friends that I knew I would have for the rest of my life. On top of finding another family, at Hopkins I met a student body that was unique, passionate, and driven and within that group was able to find smaller communities that shared my interests. And beyond these interconnected communities, Hopkins has given me the opportunity to meet incredible individuals outside of Homewood. Where am I going with this? Well today, I got back to Madrid from my Spring break trip. Being in Europe adds a whole other dimension to the idea of traveling, so in a mere 10 days I was able to hit 3 cities in 3 different countries: London, Amsterdam, and Paris. Needless to say, it was incredible. As I got to know these cities I’ve pined after for as long as I can remember, I had to keep reminding myself that it was in fact real, and that I was actually seeing Big Ben, or waiting to get into the Anne Frank House, or standing on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower. Okay, okay so I still haven’t explained my connection. At the end of this amazing trip I, along with the rest of our group, was very tired. All the excitement and walking and suitcase-carrying caught up to us as we sat at our gate, and we looked at each other and unanimously agreed: we can’t wait to get home. We walked out of our airplane when we landed in Madrid and were giddy with joy at the fact of being back on the motherland. We couldn’t wait to swipe into the train station, to hear the familiar voice announcing stops, to walk into our respective homes and collapse on our beds.
I’ve talked before about how I love making places my home, but today, as I thought about returning to Madrid, I realized just how much I meant it when I said I couldn’t wait to get home. During our trip, I found myself comparing life in each city to life in Madrid, judging whether I liked what I saw and did based on my life here. I compared the food, the traditions, the schedules. I compared the people, from a waiter in a restaurant, to a stranger I accidentally bumped into on the street. I missed my host family, and had sent them pictures of my trip while receiving pictures from theirs. At the end, it felt like it had been ages since I’d been in Madrid and I didn’t like it. I itched to get back, and couldn’t wait to open the door to the apartment and give my family a big hug. Okay…so the connection I’m trying to make is probably still unclear but here’s my best explanation: as I was reflecting on how grateful I was to be home, I realized that I was able to travel here, to develop this connection, to meet these people all because of Hopkins. I met and made my home at Homewood, but Hopkins let me do the same thing all the way over here, in Spain, and for that, I’m grateful. So thank you Hopkins for giving me the opportunity to create homes across the world.