It is really hard to put into words what this experience has been for me.
It all began January 7th of this year, the day I touched down in Valencia, Spain and – sleep-deprived and totally unprepared – I walked into the city that would come to mean so much to me in such a little amount of time. Being in this city has been something so completely different than any other type of travel or any other big move I have made in my life; this time it was neither a permanent home nor a fleeting trip, but more like a piece of my life that was utterly separate from everything else. While I can call this place a home, it is also not a place I will return to, likely for many years, and when I do, the people here that I know and the experience here that I had will be completely gone.
With this thought in mind, this semester exists completely on its own, and in a way, that is exactly why I cherish it. I know I will keep these friendships as we move into our lives back home, my increased knowledge of Spanish for as long as I can, and my pictures and memories forever, but the experience is all its own, frozen perfectly in time exactly as it is.
The perfection of the sea breeze on Malvarossa, surrounded by my friends, with a box of wine and a Tupperware of fresh fruit, a speaker playing our favorite mix of Spanish and American music, and the sun beating down.
The perfection of the cafe con leche and chocolate croissant I eat every day between classes at my favorite sunny cafe on campus.
The perfection of the rustling leaves, laughing kids, with bicycle wheels passing by, and barking dogs in the Rio Turia as I sit and write my thoughts in my leather-bound notebook.
The perfection in each and every mishap while traveling, or each and every late night return to the apartment with shoes in hand after a night of dancing, or the simplest of tasks like the quick runs to Mercadona for Nutella, bananas, and fresh-squeezed zumo.
In the simplest of terms, I am so grateful for this experience and every memory, big or small, that I have made while here. I couldn’t have imagined it any better.
This blog post was contributed by a student who studied abroad in Valencia in Spring 2018. She has asked to remain anonymous.