Well, my time has finally come. Tomorrow, I leave for Sevilla, and as I lay here in bed the night before, with clothes scattered about my room and bags left unpacked, I'm not ready to leave.
Over the past few weeks of being home, it seems as though all I've talked about with friends, family, and co-workers has been my trip abroad, yet it hasn't hit me that I'll be living in another country for four months. It's still so surreal, and for some reason, I haven't acknowledged the reality that I'll be boarding an airplane tomorrow instead of returning back to Providence College for the semester. For anyone that knows me, they'll be the first ones to tell you that I am pretty emotional when it comes to change. It's been sad saying my goodbyes, knowing that I'll be missing a lot back home, and these past couple of weeks leading up to the big day have left me more anxious than anything else. The funny thing is, I'm not really that nervous. I think the hardest thing for me has been this "waiting period," for I've had far too much time to think about everything I'm leaving behind. I think I just need to get there.
That all being said, I am so excited to begin this next chapter of my life. Over the past week, I've received countless emails from my program with information concerning my home-stay situation, the schedule for orientation, and last minute tips, and with each and every message, I light up. This is quickly becoming real, and although I might not feel ready, I don't think it would matter how much time I would have to prepare myself; I'd never feel ready. I'd never believe that something I've dreamed about for so long is actually happening.
Ever since beginning to study Spanish in the second grade, I've grown to love the language and the culture. Knowing a second language has opened up so many doors for me and has allowed me to communicate with people I otherwise would never get the chance to know. During my senior year of high school, I participated in an exchange where I lived with a student in Madrid for two weeks. I completely fell in love with the city, and I made great friends. I knew that I wanted to continue my Spanish studies and become fluent, and I knew that I wanted to go back to Spain.
As I think about how I will be returning to Spain tomorrow, my mind can't help but look back at my memories of this two-week exchange when I was just a senior in high school. Having this experience has alleviated some of the stress and concerns that I might have about my trip abroad, but this is a completely different circumstance. I won't be simply visiting another country; I'll be completely immersing myself in the Sevillian culture and lifestyle. I'll be living with a host family for four months. Instead of being a tourist, I'm going to be a student at a Spanish university, and instead of speaking Spanish for just a single class period, I'll have to speak the language constantly. Hopefully, this will make me closer to my goal of becoming fluent by the end of the semester, but I'm not sure how realistic that is.
There will be a lot of adjustments and there will be a lot of challenges, but this will be one of the best experiences of my life. There is so much that I want to see and experience. I have to promise myself that I will take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way, for the semester is going to fly by right before my eyes. I want to fall in love again with another Spanish city, and I want to travel to places I've never been. There is so much I'm going to miss, but "suddenly, you know...it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings" (Meister Eckhart).