It’s been a year since I started this blog and as I look back through the posts, it’s amazing to see how much I have grown, the crazy strands of thinking that I had to write about in the moment, and most of all the adventures I have had during this whirlwind of a year. I’ve learned a lot to say the least.

In three weeks I will be walking away from it all and as much hope and happiness that I have in that decision, I still feel a lump in my throat. Not for Spain the country itself and living in this adorable town, but for something else entirely. Over the year, I’ve met countless people. Some have brought me down and clouded my judgment, some have infuriated me with their selfishness and pettiness, but more than that, the majority have challenged my thinking and pushed me to better myself. They have shown me how to be self-less, caring, and loving in everything I do and to smile and nod after the third time asking ¿Que dices?

Regardless of what their role in my life has been there are key people who have weaseled their way into my heart and I will be forever grateful for the influence they have made.

So I wanted to dedicate this post to them. To those special few who have helped me find those opinions, practice this complicated language, let me cry when I was stressed, and of course, have always been down for a copa any given day, I say thank you.

From day one off the plane, I felt a weight of fear on my shoulders. It definitely could have been the oversized luggage I had strapped to my back at the time, but between my shaking legs and breaking back I wasn’t myself. As much as they told us not to cling to each other, we did. We clung together even though we had only met days or hours before. It was a strange experience to be bonded so quickly to people we didn’t even know each others last names, let alone how to get around in a foreign country. But we were wired with a mix between excitement and fear for that first week, nothing and everything could go wrong.

But then we moved to our city! The artificial friendships started to fizzle out and the real ones started to form. These relationships came from nothing besides the similarity between our passports, but developed into big life changes, shifts in mindset and new dreams and aspirations. They began when we stayed in a hotel room even after we both had new apartments and could have moved out at anytime. Or when we decided to stay in, watch First Dates and make friendship bracelets. They were the times we got lost while slightly intoxicated walking home those first few weeks. They were the times we sat and practiced language, where really it turned into laughing about the differences between the two and the accents we use. It was the bellyaching laughter from hilarious stories about falling down, twisted ankles, loud security alarms, and twisted tongues.

Day to day these relationships built—the amount of café con leche involved is still undetermined— but we were working through the complications and laughing at the hiccups the entire ride.

Leaving this tiny bubble, that has meant so much to me the past 10-months, I feel scared. I am scared I will forget my Spanish, I am scared I won’t know how to readjust to American culture, but most of all I am scared that the friendships I have made will turn into a memory about the one year I lived in Spain.

Last August I wrote a post about the people you meet in college. In a few short days I will be reunited with two of my best friends and I could not be more elated to see them! They are my friends that have stood the test of time and will always bring out the embarrassing stories from over the years. They are the special ones.

If I have learned anything from those two special friends (besides never snapchat how many double-chins you actually have unless you are willing to count them over drinks again someday) is that relationships are strong and they traverse distance and time easily.

Logroño, La Rioja brought us together, but our adventures navigating culture and language, our time spent together, all the inside jokes made, and our trust created are what will keep our relationships strong for years to come.

In my life I have lived in four different houses and nine apartments. Each time I have felt as if a piece of my heart was left with the people that filled those days. Leaving Spain, I feel no different. However, even as tears spring to my eyes at that thought of splitting it again, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have experienced it at all.

Not to mention, of course, all the countries, states and cities I now can visit 🙂

The point is, what makes traveling and moving so hard are these relationships we make, but on the other hand, they also make those trips worth making. You all were worth every minute spent and every minute yet to come. So as I say hasta luego to my new friends with a heavy heart, I am reminded of my favorite quote:

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” –Winnie the Pooh

Cheers to all the stories we will forever be keepers of and the people who get to keep them, you’ll stay in my heart forever (the extra CHEESE is free) ❤

 

Makenna

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