By Britney Jenkins
Today started dark and early for the majority of us, especially those with flights before 10am. Before I dive into the events and emotions of today, I’d like to enlighten you on those from the night before. We were treated to a beautiful stroll through the Parca de Montijuic, which was beyond breathtaking. As we made our way through the park, the reality set in: in just twelve short hours, we would be on our way back to the States. As I was walking through the park, my mind began to drift back to the day I arrived in Spain and how exciting it felt to embark upon this cultural experience through the country. I have never been off the East Coast, much less out of the country, so this was something completely unknown to me. I reflected on the emotions of being in another country with people I had only just met, the differences between the States and Spain, meeting my host family for the first time, and all the memories made. I was pulled back to reality by the beautiful water show, where crowds of people filled the once almost empty park. To me, the water show reflected our emotions and experiences while in Spain and was a perfect way to end such an experience.
After the water show, we made our way back to the Residencia, but before we could get to the train we came across street performers! They were so much fun to watch, and talented, too. We arrived back at the Residencia where we all shared our goodbyes because we knew 4am would come all too soon. Those who were once strangers were now connected by our amazing journey through Spain. I almost didn’t want to sleep because I knew the morning would come and it would be time to leave, and sure enough, it did.
As I prepared to meet the cab downstairs, all I could hear in my head was the song “Leaving On a Jet Plane” — very fitting for the situation. I met Jade, Darlene, Nathan, and Spencer downstairs. As we waited for the cab, I felt a sense of sadness as we said goodbye to Spain. At the airport, we all parted ways and began our long journey home. Beginnings are always scary, endings are always sad, but what happens in between is what makes the lasting impact. I can’t fully reflect on my time in Spain because it all seems like a blur, but I do know I am leaving more than I was, more than I am, and with a greater understanding of who I want to be. Knowledge is power, and I know that is one of the greatest gifts Spain has given me. I have broken bread with complete strangers who welcomed me into their homes and lives as if I always belonged. I have witnessed the culture that is deeply rooted in Spain’s foundation. I have embraced the culture and tried many foods that were not in my comfort zone.
I have a new hunger for exploration, a greater understanding for people around me, and a desire to soak in as much as the universe is willing to share.