Have I already been home for a week, back to reality and away from my Spanish life? Unfortunately, it is true. I cannot believe how fast time flies. I am very happy to be back home with my family and friends, but I was having such a great time in Spain! Three months ago, I wrote my first blog, entitled, “The Adventure Begins!” What I didn’t realize at that point was that the adventure would really never end.
Looking back at my first couple of weeks in Spain, I can see a Luci who was a little nervous, really excited, and had no idea what was in store for her. Today, I am a person who has changed for the better. This internship has given me so many priceless memories, along with a lot of confidence, knowledge, and experience. And even though the three months are over and I am back in the USA, I find it hard to simply go back to life as it was.
When I left Valladolid, it was really sad. My whole extended Spanish family had one last night together in our pueblo (the little village that we have a house in, outside of Valladolid)… Look at that! Even as I write this blog, I say “my” family and “our” pueblo. This shows how close I became with my family in Spain, and it is one of the biggest reasons why I think that my adventure has just begun, but more on that later. Anyway, we stayed in our pueblo, Pedrajas de San Esteban, where to my delight we had a typical Spanish cookout, complete with my favorite meats and breads and desserts. We toasted “Que Luci volera ́ pronto” (That Luci will return soon). And in the morning I said goodbye to my hermanas, Teresa and Cristina, my abuela, tios, and primos (sisters, grandma, aunts and uncle, and cousins). And I will admit, I cried as my little sisters and I had one last group hug. “You will come back!” they said. Pepe and I headed back to Valladolid. Once there, I had more goodbyes. My other abuela, my housekeeper and family friend, and I went out to eat in the Plaza Mayor. It was probably the best day we had had yet, so we sat outside enjoying the warm sun. Pepe knows me and my love of Spanish food too well, so after that he cooked me one more delicious Spanish meal that we shared, complete with a huge plate of mejillones (mussles), arroz con gambas (rice with shrimp), and pescado (baked fish), which we topped off with a little bit of yummy Spanish wine. OH, and of course, bread!
After one last stroll in the city, with admiration for all of the beautiful statues out and decorated for Semana Santa, the people out and about, and the beautiful day, Pepe took Blake and me and all of our luggage to the train station. Wasn’t it just yesterday that he and the girls picked me up? Pepe reminded me again that I didn’t have to leave, and that I could come back whenever I wanted. And after one final goodbye, we boarded the train. Off to Madrid, then to the United States.
Now, back to what I was saying about how my adventure will never end. In Spain, I made so many new friends and relationships and I learned so much. Now, I have the desire to maintain and grow those relationships and continue to learn. I am already thinking about when I will be able to go back to Spain, and how I can continue to practice my Spanish. There is so much more to see, learn, and experience, and these last three months have just been a stepping stone to realizing that and gaining the tools to journey on. I am excited that I have this experience, that I have a family to go back to in Spain, and that I can share this experience with others. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I will be hosting a wonderful student from Spain named Beatriz. I cannot wait to share my culture with her and give her a similar experience. I am also hoping to meet other students that come from Spain, and get involved in JCC’s summer immersion program. There are so many opportunities that I am happy to have that will keep me learning and experiencing new things.
For anyone, young or old, who has even the slightest desire to try something new, no matter if it is trying a new food or spending three months in a foreign country, I say GO FOR IT! I am blessed to have had the opportunity to have this wonderful experience in Spain, and when the opportunity for the adventure arose, I said yes. It was a little scary, but sometimes the best things in life come out of those things where you aren’t sure what they have in store for you. The point is, let your adventure begin! To find out more about JCC’s international internship programs in both Spain and China, go to http://www.sunyjcc.edu/academics/experiential-learning/internships/international-internships.