30 January 2012

The end.

I spent almost 5 years looking forward to study abroad.  I've always loved to travel, and ever since I knew what study abroad entailed, I knew I wanted to do it.  Looking back I realize exactly how excited I was for it.  The closer it got, the more I honestly could not control my excitement.  Now that it's over and it's time to find something else to look forward to, it feels kind of bittersweet.  When I look at my facebook pictures and see a jumble of my travels- Paris, London, Ireland, Italy, and the amazing town I lived in, it just hits me how incredibly blessed I am to have had this experience.  

But now it's time to move on to something new.  I've blogged through it, recounted stories to my friends, and shown pictures to literally anyone who will look at them.  

I'm really excited to see where my life is headed, and I know there will be great things- both here and abroad.  So until then, here is one last post on my experience from this past semester.  After this, it's back to business as normal- outfit posts, stories of weekend trips home, and a little bit of catching up.

The post below I wrote in the middle of my final journey home.

At this moment, I’m sitting in the airport, waiting to board my final flight home to Tennessee.  It’s been a tiring 24 hours of travel (so far) and I’m having so many feelings about Malaga, and this semester in general.
The entirety of our trip, I tried REALLY hard to constantly remind myself how incredibly blessed I was, and to soak it in as much as possible.  Although I know I did that, leaving Malaga was SO sad.  Tears were shed as I said goodbye to my friends and host family- maybe even for the last time ever.  

I miss my family, friends from home, and of course Greg, and I truly cannot wait to be home and celebrate Christmas with them.  Spending three months apart from those you love really makes you realize just how much they mean to you.  So although I'm really sad about leaving my trip behind, I don't want anyone to think that I'm not 100% ready to see my loved ones.  
I never even considered the impact study abroad would have on my life.... but oh my gosh, has it had an impact.  This semester I left home, alone, to travel to a foreign country that had a language, culture, and norms so different than my own.  I branched out, met so many incredible people from across the globe.  I navigated my way around 10 different international airports, sleeping in 3 of them.  I tried crazy foods I never thought I could have (helllllo snails and squid.)  And perhaps most importantly, I became more self aware, more confident, more independent, and more appreciative of absolutely everything I am blessed with, both at home and abroad.
I’m hoping (and praying) that I will be able to remain close to some of my new Malaga friends, because goodness knows I love them to death.  As my host mother said during our tearful goodbyes- I’ve truly gained a bigger family, that will be with me wherever I am in the world, and in life.  
As for where my journeys will take me next, I don’t yet know.  But if I have anymore adventures, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. 

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