As the semester is finally wrapping up, I’m becoming more and more nostalgic about my time in Sevilla and how it’s changed me. No, I don’t have a posse of Spanish friends that call me to go out and no, I still don’t speak Spanish well enough to fool any native speaker. But I have a Spanish family that treats me like one of their own and that has included me in on so many things that I never would’ve experienced as a tourist or a student living in an apartment. Just last night my senora was helping her friend out at a week-long feria (little community fair) and invited me to go along where we saw performances from some of the kids in the community (a little strange—scantily clad 12 year-old girls dancing in front of a cross as well as Spanish hip hop performances…?) and got free food from my senora who was working as a waitress to make extra money. There’s a little bread shop (panaderia) on the first floor of the house and the lady calls me “la rubita” (the little blonde) that comes to pick up bread once or twice a week. I have a frequent breakfaster card at the nearby tapas bar and Coop’s former senora invited me to coffee on Monday (should be very interesting). These are the things that make me feel like more than just another American in Spain.
To explain…Spain, out of all the countries in the E.U, has the lowest approval rating of the U.S and to be fair, I can understand some of their reasoning. Study abroad students frequently come to Spain just to party. Really it’s just a bad combination in that the classes aren’t demanding and the majority of the students can’t drink in the U.S so they go absolutely wild in Spain. They break stuff, get sick at bars and generally do very little to improve the reputation of Americans as respectable people interested in Spanish culture. Of course, Spaniards are still getting over Bush (Spain’s leaders involved them in the Iraq war with a very high disapproval from its citizens) and love Obama (they sell little brown cookies in Cadiz that they call Obama cookies and they sell like hot cakes) so things are changing. Also, Americans support their economy more than any other country so they should show a little bit of appreciation. But overall, I just wish that there was something that could be done to improve the status of Americans in Spain. I guess I’m just hoping that I was working against the stereotype instead of enforcing it.
Either way though, it’s going to be hard to leave despite how much I want to see my family and friends. I’m almost positive I’m going to cry when leave because it’s like I’ve created my own little niche here and now I have to leave it behind. It’s totally different from leaving the U.S because I knew I was coming back. I’ll never be here again to discuss how worthless men are with my 60-year old senora or to hang out with all of my friends at the river near the Torre de Oro. It makes it even harder that the weather is absolutely perfect here and that classes have ended so my responsibilities include eating, sleeping, walking around the city and perhaps studying here and there for my final exams.
Lastly, I’m slightly nervous about readjusting to life back home. It’s going to be so weird to see my friends from back home who I haven’t seen for six months. They’ve probably changed and so have I. I have to catch up on the last six months of their lives. For that matter, I have to catch up on the last six months of American culture. I hope I still remember how to drive a car when I get back. Three days after I get back I start summer school at UNC. School in Spain is completely different from UNC. I hope that I haven’t become too laid-back to hack it for a 9:00 journalism class that lasts for three and half hours. Even going out will be different. In Spain, I eat at around ten and don’t even meet up with people until 11:30. Then we go hang out for a couple hours and then go to a club or bar until on average, three or four in the morning. This is very normal Spanish culture---little kids are out playing on playgrounds until 12:30 at night. I’m going to think its lame when everything closes at 3.
So I started off my semester discussing everything I missed from the U.S and now I’m ending discussing everything I’m going to miss from Spain. It’s all come full circle and I CANT BELIEVE I’VE SPENT FIVE MONTHS HERE AND I ONLY HAVE 14 DAYS LEFT.