So it’s been a little over a year since I left for Granada. I remember how terrified I was, even though I’d traveled to other countries alone numerous times and had survived. It was just something about Spain, it seemed so intimidating. And it was intimidating.
But I survived, mostly. My landlord stole my laptop (and my father’s) the last day we were in Granada. My flights got fucked up and I had to spend a night in JFK, sleeping on a bench. I ate too much Nutella. But I came out the other end of it having learned a lot about myself and other people.
This is the part where I should tell you how much studying abroad changed me and made me grow up and widen my worldview. In all honesty, it didn’t happen. I’ve come to learn that growing up is just becoming more yourself, figuring out who you are and what you want and how you want to behave. I did a lot of that in Spain. I became myself, more than I was before.
And my worldview, well, it was already pretty wide. People are people, wherever you go. They want health and love and good fortune. They just want to have a good day and maybe have a stranger compliment their shoes every once in a while and have a good meal at least once daily. Most things people do are driven by their desire to be happy and healthy. I’m not trying to be reductive in saying this, merely trying to explain that at our cores we really are all the same. As Regina Spektor said, “people are just people, people are just people like you.”
So that’s what I did, I guess. I started figuring myself out a little and figuring out other people. I learned that I like balsamic vinegar and olive oil on my salad. I’ll eat grapefruit, but only if it’s paired with avocado. I learned that maybe the best way to be happy is to eat breakfast for dinner with your friends and cuddle on the couch afterwards to watch a movie.
I still talk to Morgane and Julien on Skype occasionally. I miss them both fiercely. I miss waking up with the sun and standing out on the balcony, watching the day get started. I miss seeing the mountains when I’m walking to school. I miss tapas. I miss Granada but I don’t want to go back. You can’t step in the same river twice.
Recently I broke up with the guy I was falling in love with while I was in Spain. Ending that relationship almost felt like shaking off the last vestiges of my life there, even though he was in Greensboro when I was in Granada.
Since coming back I’ve been working on meeting more people and attempting to become a more socially functional person. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Dealing with my inability to speak to an attractive man in a coherent manner is my next goal. I get all awkward and stammer-y and I have no idea why. It’s not an attractive look.
So that’s really what life after Spain has been like. Just school, boyfriend, then no more boyfriend, friends, and riding my bike. I’m glad I went, but I’m happy I’m home.