Wednesday, February 2, 2011

¡Adios España!

I can remember being incredibly sad and torn about leaving Australia. I was so excited about going on exchange, about living in a new country, learning Spanish and being away for a whole year, but I also didn't want to leave my home. I didn't want to leave everything that was comfortable to me. I didn't want to leave all that I knew, and all that I loved.

Today, a year later, I am going through those same emotions. Spain has been my home for the past year, its people, its food, its culture and customs becoming a part of who I am. Today I am leaving all of that. Today I am getting on a plane, and 27 hours later I will be getting off, in Australia, and seeing my family and friends for the first time in a year. I'm so excited, so nervous, so daunted. As much as I want to see my family, I also want to have this year span out as much as I can. A week ago I thought to myself, "I only have a week left, that's so crazy. So little time." Now, I have seven hours before my flight leaves. Time flies quickly.

Exchange has been everything I thought it would be, and so much more. I can look back on this year, with my heart full of love and happiness. It has been far less than perfect; I have been challenged, hurt, annoyed in many situations, but they have all helped me grow, all helped me turn to God and look to him. I knew this year wouldn't be easy. And it wasn't easy. But even though there were the low parts, I have also had some of the best times of my life this year. I have been welcomed into a family, I made Spanish friends, I learnt another language, I experienced the culture of Spain at a local level. I think of Spain, and I think of the good memories, the times where my cheeks hurt from grinning too much.

I am sad to leave Spain. Spain has become my home this past year. These past six weeks I've been travelling. But even so, returning back to Spain has made me realise, wherever I am, Spain will always be there, waiting for my return. I'll miss it so much.

Today I looked back on my year via my Facebook statuses. I have had the most amazing year. I feel so blessed to have been given this year, with both of its ups and downs.

Today I am saying goodbye to my year here in Spain. Just like I said goodbye to Australia. Though, this time, I don't know when I'll be back. I'll certainly be back, but I don't know when. I am saying goodbye to so many things; to Spanish bread, olive oil, olives, tortilla de patatas, to Spanish songs, Spanish fiestas, to sleeping in, to Europe, to my hometown, to the Rio Ebro, to the Jesus statue at the top of the town, the (dare I say it?) rubia! and guapa!, to Zurich, my cafe, cafe con leche, Justin Beiber (teenage host sisters!), the list goes on and on.

This year has enriched my life so much. Although I've been away from my family and friends for a year, I've still been able to be a part of their lives, seeing all that they've accomplished (via Facebook of course!). I am so excited to come back and start my next adventure with them by my side.

So, goodbye Spain. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for welcoming me into your heart, for showing me the wonderful country you are, and the amazing people that live here. I have had the time of my life getting to know you, and learning new things about myself as well. I will never forget you.

I'll be back in Australia before I know it, and this year will have finished. But I will always look back on it with the fondest of memories, full of love and laughter. I thank God so much for this time away, for both the happy and hard times.

Goodbye Spain. Hello Australia!