The following was written on my nine hour flight home, April 7th 2018. Somewhere in the sky between Barcelona, Spain and Newark, New Jersey.
I wasn’t sure if I would cry but I’m not surprised that I did. Saying goodbye to the close and inexplicable friendships I’ve made was one thing, but saying goodbye to the new normal I created was another. Throughout the semester, whenever we were deciding to do something or spend money or anything of that sort I kept telling myself: “You’re only going to be young, dumb, and in Barcelona once in your life. Every other time you’ll only be two of the three.”
I find comfort in that. But it’s also funny because if WHEN(!) I come back to Barcelona it’ll be a different Barcelona and I’ll be a different Alexis. Not completely, but to an extent. I think there’s so much pressure on students that go abroad to have this hugely insane life-changing experience. Which, yes, it changes you in some ways. But I think more so studying abroad should just solidify or emphasize things you already know about yourself. I had a good sense of self before getting on that plane back in January, but I think I’ve come to see parts of myself more clearly because of the context I was in.
I also think I’ve become so appreciate of life and culture because I was able to see something so new and unfamiliar and thrive while there. Now I know what places I still want to travel and the type of people I’d want to do it with. I’ve gotten what I needed from Barcelona this time around, but I’ll be back at some point to wring out all the rest that it’s got in store for me.
I think what I’ll miss most is seeing the unfinished towers of La Sagrada Familia peeking out between buildings. I want to go back once it’s finally finished. But something about looking at the cranes that never seemed to actually be doing anything and the contrast of the new facades bright against the old ones was nice. A reminder that even the most beautiful things are a work in progress.