The Crusader Online

April 11, 2014
Vol. 55 No. 21

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Student says hasta luego

I cannot ignore the fact that I have less than 10 days left in the place that has been my home for the past few months. Alicante has treated me very kindly, and I do not know that I can enumerate the number of different ways that I am going to miss it.
As my end date looms closer, I have begun noticing the little ways in which I feel like I belong here. I have memorized the timing of the lights on my walk to the park that Emily and I have claimed as our own. I know the two bakeries in the city from which I can purchase my favorite kind of doughnut. I only eat out at a restaurant if it is a deal night. I have a buy 10, get one free card at my favorite café. My host family's dogs greet me at the door. Taking the bus seems normal, and the idea of driving seems like a hassle. We have a set order of bars, which we hit on the weekends.
Yet I am still discovering new things, which makes it even harder to think of leaving. Today I met a relative of my host family who has a boat and offered to take us out on it for the day. Unfortunately, this trip will not be happening with the limited amount of time I have left, so he said it would have to wait until the next time I am in Spain. Except there is a very good chance that I will never visit these places or see these people again.
My host mom and sister told me to send pictures of my graduation, and two boys who Emily and I befriended want to visit us in America (although we tried explaining that Pennsylvania is not the standard tourist destination). Apart from the Spanish friends I will shortly be saying goodbye to, there are students across the U.S. who I will also sorely miss.
It seems incomprehensible that soon tapas and sangria will be hard to come by. Instead of sitting down for a huge meal with my family at 2:30, I will be eating a packed lunch at a desk in D.C. at my summer internship. I will trade siestas for an eight hour work day. Rather than hearing the phrase, 'Don't worry,' a hundred times a day, I will again have a never-ending to-do list.
I am obviously still psyched to visit Susquehanna for senior week, to wake up to waffles and bacon made by my mother and to lay around watching chick flicks in my best friend's living room. Yet I feel like I'm not only losing Alicante, the Spanish way of life and new loved ones, but also a new version of myself.
I guess the only thing to do now is to remember that I have absolutely no regrets about my abroad experience (having in fact checked off all the things on my bucket list), bring the memories and lessons back with me and appreciate the people and things that I am coming home to. It's not goodbye Alicante; it's hasta luego.

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