You Can’t Go Home Again

Siobahn Neela-Stock studied abroad with API in Granada, and served as an API Student Blogger. She is now an API Peer Mentor on her home campus, the University of Vermont.

It happens in flashes.

While sitting in the library and hearing someone say “a la gente.”

Somehow knowing that a girl is about to speak Spanish while walking across the green because she sort of looks like your host sister.

Getting to Spanish class is a salvation of some sorts. Hearing the teacher sing the musical notes of the language you have become accustomed to is like finally finding water after being thirsty for so long. Although, your professor’s Spanish is sprinkled with English words at times that your heart rejects, a little Spanglish is preferable to the monotone and unenthusiastic tones of the English language.

It’s not just the language though, it’s also the pace of life.

Before you realize it you are thrown into the fast, frenetic rat race that is the American Life. You have no time to breathe as classes, extracurricular activities and new people are thrown at you. No longer present is the slow therapeutic pace of relaxing for hours while being surrounded by good food and amazing company. Everything must be done with fast gulps and constrained to pending and surmounting deadlines. Staying at an American restaurant hours after you have paid the bill would just be unheard of.

The streets of Granada are forever etched into your head as you float along them hearing the clink of tapa plates while daydreaming in class. If you close your eyes you can almost pretend as soon as you walk out of class you’ll happen upon the many plazas of the Albaicin where you spent some memorable afternoons languidly soaking up the sun while watching the hippies create six foot bubbles from their hula hoops. Repeatedly thinking you’re seeing the faces of people you’ve met but then realizing you’ve left them all behind.

But the jolt of reality hits you as you realize a hybrid is possible. You can take the skills you’ve learned, the experiences you’ve had and incorporate them into your current life. The yearning for a place that subtly became a second home comes frequently. But with time they will subside turning into sweet memories that can be reminisced upon without a bitter feeling in your gut. Although the experience will never come back there’s still the whole world out there waiting for you.

 

 

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