Home Means Nevada

I am now sitting safely on my couch at home after quite a long journey. My last few days in London, I had this sudden urge to be home, in my own bed. I was ready to come home and be reunited with my family and friends. Even though my luggage did not make it on my flight, and had to be delivered to my house a day later, the trip home wasn’t too bad. I was extremely exhausted. I felt like I had just pulled an all-nighter, which is possibly true due to the nine hour time change. I remember approaching Reno and seeing Manogue High School’s football field from the air. I smiled and knew I was home.

Getting off the plane, I basically ran to the escalators to be reunited with my family. I was videotaping them, and my mom was videotaping me. My dad had flowers in his hand and my brother had balloons for me, and I just fell into their arms and cried. My mom and I were in a crying embrace for quite some time. My mom is my best friend. Last summer, she was in New York for about a month while I was in Reno. I remember it being so hard to be away from my mom because there were things I wanted to tell her in the moment, and she wasn’t there. This time, it was me that was gone for over a month and I could tell it was hard for her. While I missed my mom terribly, I was so proud of myself for making the decision to study abroad and doing it on my own. It was a learning experience that I can take with me everywhere I go.

My mom had turkey dinner and brownies ready for me when I got home, which was basically heaven. Of course, I had to spend time handing out all the souvenirs I got and emptying out my carry-on. My dog, Jasmine, was a little confused that I was home. She sniffed me at first and took a while to warm up. I forgot how tiny she really is! It felt so nice to just hug and squeeze her. My sleeping schedule actually hasn’t been horrible. The first two nights I was waking up around 2:30am, but last night I slept through the entire night. I was really scared for the jet lag, but it seems to be okay right now.

Last night, my family and I went to the a local baseball game for the Fourth of July. I made sure to be home for this holiday because it’s one of my favorites and also my parent’s 32nd anniversary. I was not going to miss this! It’s cool to think that I’ve been exploring all these other countries, and I still get to come home to celebrate the birthday of the United States and our freedoms. I feel so lucky to be with my family today and everyday.

Another thing I was scared about coming back home, was reverse culture shock. I can say I was definitely excited to have a dryer for my clothes, hot water in my shower, and food in the cupboard. But I still miss my morning cafe con leche, tortilla de patatas, and pinxtos. I feel very annoying to my family because I keep saying “When I was in Spain…” but that’s all I know right now. That was my life for the past six weeks and it was absolutely amazing. How can I not talk about it? Sitting here at home, everything seems kind of surreal. Did I actually just spend six weeks in a foreign country, by myself? It hasn’t really hit me yet.

So what did I learn from my time abroad? I am so much more open-minded and aware of what’s going on around me now. I was truly content with life when I was living in Spain. I had no worries, no cares, I just went with the flow and did what I wanted to do without an agenda. It was the absolute best feeling. I feel so in tune with myself and my aspirations for life. I find myself complaining less and just making do with what I have. I feel more grown up and sophisticated. Traveling has a certain effect on people. It gives you a new perspective that most people may never get, nor are willing to get. If you are debating whether or not to study abroad, do it!! You will not regret it. Even though it may seem scary and concerning at times, it is completely worth it in the end. Spain has a HUGE piece of my heart and always will. Someday I would like to go back and explore Southern Spain and the Northeast coast, hopefully with my family so we can also hit Italy.

I would like to also thank the people who played a big role in my study abroad adventure.

  • USAC, of course! Thank you to my coworkers who encouraged me to study abroad, and gave me only the best advice. Can’t wait to see you all next week and share my stories!
  • Ibon, María, Mane and all the USAC staff in Bilbao. Thank you all for organizing a wonderful excursion to France and San Sebastián, and always being there to answer any questions we may have had. You guys rock!
  • My host mom. Gracias por permitiéndome quedarme en tu casa, cocinando me comidas, y haciendo mi ropa sucia. Gracias por hablando español conmigo y ayudándome. Tú eres la leche.
  • My parents and siblings. Thank you for being open-minded and trusting that USAC would take good care of me. And also for helping me financially.
  • All of my previous Spanish teachers, Mrs. Kahl, Mrs. Kazemi, Mrs. O’Neill, Señorita Harris, and Profesora Leonard. Thank you guys for being apart of my Spanish journey, and inspiring me to continue using my Spanish abroad.
  • All the friends I made while in Spain. Thank you for bringing me out of my shell and allowing me to have fun. You guys really made this experience a memorable one.
  • Jim McClenahan. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to join your Global Business program in London. I couldn’t have done it without your help!
  • God. All Glory to Him. I would not have been able to do this without His hand guiding me along the way. All the Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s really helped in times of homesickness.
  • Those of you reading this blog. Thank you for following along on my journey of a lifetime. Your support means the most to me and I feel so lucky that I get to look back on this blog years from now and remember these moments. I love you all!

Hasta luego!

Christie Chaump studied abroad in Bilbao, Spain in Summer of 2018. To read more about her time in Bilbao, check out her blog, My Adventure Awaits.