I tried to wait as long as I could before making a post for the new year; after all who wants to be lumped in with all the “New Year New Me” enthusiasts? So, I think almost a full two weeks after the bells rang is socially acceptable. Right? Therefore, I thought a quick post to introduce the second half of my adventure here was appropriate.
I’ve been here four months, and as the weather begins to hit 70 F it’s time to say goodbye to a lot of the great friends I have made here (side note: I’m sure I’ll get emotional and make an official goodbye blog by the time the new semester actually starts). A lot of the Americans have already left, most of my friends from Mexico will be leaving in a week or so, and about 2/3 of the European crowd will disperse by the second week of February. With time winding down and no exams in my future I have had a chance to reflect.
Before I came over here to the land of sunshine and siestas so many people told me again and again that this experience would change me. Well, I’m halfway through and if I can see the change surely you all can as well. Or I can at least romantically hope that it is evident to the public. The Tylie I am now is the Tylie I have always been; studying abroad just gave me the perspective to see myself, the strength to bring those parts I’ve kept boxed away to light and then the courage to admit my faults and shortcomings. This experience has humbled me and then given me a newfound confidence.
I can’t put into words what is happening to me. I can just say that I feel it. Part of the process is the self-realizations I have had. I’m stronger mentally and less shy (yes guys, I really am shy deep down I just hide it very well). Perhaps the biggest one, for me, is that admitting emotions of any kind has become easier. Just ask Kaitie–I’m not very good with the emotional stuff but I’m working on it.
So my darling American friends, please study abroad. We are so isolated and don’t have the chances the Europeans do to experience other cultures. While I am sure many of you see my facebook rants about our society another amazing effect of this program is that I now have more love and pride in my country than before. I just see our problems in a new, glaring fluorescent light. Besides, if you have been reading my posts and if you are a friend of mine on social media you probably have read at some point about our many adventures here (like recently getting trapped in an elevator). Wouldn’t you like to experience an adventure of your own? We are so young and the world is so large.
Spain is my home. I always said before that I never felt more accepted than in the art department at USI, but Spain blows all that away. I feel calm and relaxed here in a way I never have in the US. Of course, I miss my family in Indiana, however, I also have a family here. People who have watched me fail, excel and then fail again without judgement or expectation. So I’m going to keep working on me and I’ll keep you all updated. Stay tuned for the latest adventure or misadventure as some might view our exploits. The new year has just begun.