In 6 days, I’ll be on a flight out of Madrid and back to St. Louis. It felt crazy to even type that sentence, because I can’t believe how fast this semester flew by. At the end of these just-about-4 months of living in Madrid, I can easily admit that I don’t want to leave. A couple of weeks ago, I was reflecting on how little time I had left and I was hit with—what I described to my friends as—a crippling anxiety. I didn’t want to think about leaving behind this city, this culture, this community that I had the opportunity to get to know. I’ve grown so close to my surroundings and the people around me, and have become so accustomed to my daily life in Spain, that to leave it all behind filled me with an unexpected sadness. If you’re rolling your eyes right about now that would be an accurate response, because after exactly one worry-filled night, I quickly realized how ridiculous I was being.
I can’t explain how grateful I am to have been able to create a community here, but it’s absolutely ridiculous to think that I won’t be able to keep it when the semester ends. The amazing group of Hopkins students who have been a part of the program this Spring will be back on campus with me next year—and you guessed it, we’ve already started planning get-togethers with big plans to reproduce home cooked Spanish meals. Our program director, who has been an incredible professor and mentor this semester has assured us he’ll be keeping in touch, and has already told us firmly that the next time we’re in Spain or he’s in the States, we’ll be grabbing a drink to catch up (and on our side, potentially asking him to help us cook). And my host family, who I’ve been extending every moment possible with, is absolutely and wholeheartedly refusing to accept that I won’t be back in Spain, and is already talking about how excited they are to hear about my adventures over the summer and into next year.
And that reminded me of my next level of ridiculousness: next year. I know I’ve been nauseatingly happy with my experience in Spain, but that didn’t stop me from feeling weird about being away from Homewood and my family. It was strange to talk to my friends over FaceTime and not have them a few paces away from my room or apartment. It felt strange to not celebrate our traditions together, whether it was cheering on our teams at Homecoming, or taking in the sun on the beach during Spring Fair. I’m excited to get back to Baltimore and my friends and…senior year. SENIOR YEAR. I’m 100% certain that thought hasn’t completely sunk in yet, but give it a couple of weeks and tune back in. Going abroad meant that I also missed seeing my family—I was lucky enough to have my parents visit me, but I haven’t seen my sister in a year, which is one year too long. This spring, my parents also officially moved back to the states, making traveling back home mean a reunion with St. Louis and a chance to spend quality time with my family, extended family, and even catch up with friends from high school.
Does this mean I’m no longer sad about leaving Madrid? No, definitely not. But I also can’t wait to see what’s coming up next. Plus, it’s like my host family tells me: this is just a ‘see you later, Spain’ because there’s no doubt I’ll be back.