I realise most people will be reading this post thinking ‘wait, didn’t you get home ages ago?!’ Technically yes: I got home almost two weeks ago. I guess I’ve just been putting off writing this post for a while.
I originally planned to write it while still in Spain and post it as my final adiós to Zaragoza, but I got busy with packing and my mom and brother visiting, so I’d say I kind of used that as an excuse. I’m currently writing this on a freezing cold and far too long train home from London after a week of work experience, and it suddenly felt the time was right.
Despite my first few months of wanting to jump onto the first plane home I could and never go back, I am so proud of myself. I bloody well did it. I lived in Spain for ten months and lived to tell the tale – yes, I’m aware that is a tad on the dramatic side, but it’s me, so I guess it’s normal. I found out this week I’ve (provisionally) passed my year abroad with a 2:1 and I’ve improved my Spanish by miles – I’m not sure I can say my grammar is perfect, but it’s definitely getting there after this year! I’m just happy I got through 10 months of some of the most testing hours and days of my life. Spanish university, I hated you and never want to go back, but it’s been an interesting experience.
I somehow passed Spanish uni with a 2:1???
I credit staying to my parents. I told them I had decided to leave and wouldn’t go back on my word at any cost, but they were careful with their words, handled the situation as best they could, and did nothing but try and encourage the positivity and happiness I was lacking back then. A particular pep talk from my lovely padre is probably the reason I’m here now, scrolling through photos from the last month or two of sun, sangria and shots with my wonderful friends out there and thinking ‘thank fuck I stayed’ (sorry dad, I know you hate me swearing in my blog posts, but I felt the gravity of the situation asked for it!)
Had I not stayed, I honestly don’t think I would be the person I am now. Yes, I’m still a slightly nervous yet loud chatterbox, still obsessively checking my emails, still making an incessant amount of Spotify playlists, still tagging my friends and boyfriend in an endless stream of memes and clickbait articles. However, I’m that person with a few added extras because of my time away. I still get anxious, but I’ve gone from being petrified of asking a complete stranger for help or directions to the extreme opposite; I’ve learned to relax a lot more and actually stop caring about every possible outcome, and to just get on with whatever is ahead; I’ve become much more determined and resilient and realised that when I want something, I just will not give up – my stubbornness is still there, it seems.
I’ll also really miss Zaragoza. Despite the fact no one seems to have heard of it unless they know of the fairly crappy Segunda División football team, it’s been a dream. The people, the food, the gorgeous basilica, the sunshine-filled park, the dodgy nights out and tapas trails… it’s all been absolutely wonderful and I can safely say it’s my second home.
Posing with the basilica yet again on my final night in Spain
I’ve flown out of Spain a proud, resilient and happy young woman who, while absolutely horrified by the amount of work and stress ahead of me come September, knows a heck of a lot more about herself and knows what she wants out of this world. And I guess, to end on a cliché, it really has been the making of me.
Gracias por todo, España. Until next time.
If you want to catch up on my year abroad posts, click here.