Now as I am sitting in my little home in Lititz, Pennsylvania and looking back at this semester, I must admit it all seems a little unreal. My last weeks in Spain were wonderful. We finally got the weather we were all praying for the entire semester, and I soaked up every last drop of adventure I could. I’m so happy to be home, but of course there are plenty of things I miss already…my abuela, the Plaza Mayor, cafe con leche, being able to get a drink at a bar…etc etc etc. I honestly can’t believe I did it…it seems like it went by so fast now, but I know there were moments when I felt the semester would never end–either in a bad or a good way. I definitely conquered a lot of my homesickness, even though it was always there in the back of my heart. Home is such a nice place to be, but I think this semester helped me to say I am actually ready to start my own life and make my own home.
I can confidently say that I have found my lantern of inspiration and hope…just like the reference I made in my very first blog post. Since my theme for this blog was the Disney movie, Tangled, I think it’s appropriate to bring my journey full circle in this way. In the story, Rapunzel’s goal when she leaves her tower is to find the lanterns that she sees floating in the sky each year on her birthday. She doesn’t know what they mean, but she feels drawn to them. They are, in fact, lanterns that her parents, the king and queen, put in the sky each year in attempt to find their lost princess daughter. The hope of finding her lanterns is Rapunzel’s inspiration for continuing on her journey and her final destination at the end of the movie. In a more concrete way, the symbol of light and awe that always enchanted me throughout the semester was the Plaza when it was lit up at night. Of course, more importantly, my abstract “lanterns” were many things…overcoming homesickness, strengthening my Spanish, connecting with new cultures, meeting different people, reaching out to and discovering my most important friendships from home, arriving safely to my family…the list goes on. If I could change the photo I have on my blog now, I would probably change it to this photo…a content and inspired Rapunzel, surrounded by all of her lanterns of hope. Maybe my whole theme was a bit silly, but for me, I think it was a fun way to wrap everything together and come full circle. Having closure is a lovely thing, even if you have to create it yourself.
From my spot at an outdoor cafe/bar in the Plaza…my lantern of inspiration and hope.
Here is Rapunzel singing during one of the final scenes in the movie when she finally finds her sky of floating lanterns.
So the last few weeks…
One of our last weekend nights out in Salamanca, we all went out together. Somehow, my friends got me to wear these new red heels I had bought specifically to wear on my 21st birthday. They are pretty comfy as far as heels goes, which is good because you will never find me in heels. They were astatic that they got me to wear them and took lots of pictures. Teeny wedges but they still count!
We had a good time saying goodbye to a lot of our favorite spots in Salamanca 🙂
My last week in Spain, Todd came to visit! I went to pick him up at the Madrid airport on Saturday morning. For some reason, I thought he would get into Terminal 1…BIG MISTAKE. He got into Terminal 4 and had to figure out (with no Spanish ability) how to get to Terminal 1! This included having to find someone who spoke English, figure out where the buses back to Salamanca left from (terminal 1–where I was waiting), take a subway, then take a shuttle! OH MY. He did it though, and silly me just waiting all confused at the cafe in Terminal 1 where we had planned to meet. Good job Phoebe. Anyways, it was pure luck and fate that as Todd was leaving the information desk in Terminal 1, about to head back to Terminal 4 (to see if we had crossed paths and missed each other), I saw him from across the airport on my way to the information desk (to see if his flight had been delayed or something weird) and sprinted to catch him as he walked away. If it hadn’t been that moment we were both going to or leaving the info desk, I don’t know how we ever would have found each other, seeing as Todd’s phone didn’t work in Spain. Oh deeeear. All worked out in the end though and we made it back to Salamanca safely together. The week following that stressful morning was wonderful. We had so much fun.
We spent that evening having a picnic by the river with all the friends I had made that semester.
Then we all went out together that night to see the last of the Salamanca night scene.
The rest of the week we spent eating pastries and drinking coffee in the mornings, hanging out on the grass in front of the Cathedral while I studied for finals during the days, and going out to eat during the evenings…how can life get any better than that!
Hanging out on the grass and enjoying Coke and Fanta…a typical afternoon occurrence…
Shopping–new sunglasses and a hat for that strong Spanish sun!
Doing some sightseeing, like the Love-Lock Garden
Picnic dinners finished off with watermelon dessert!
Churros con Chocolate at the best churro place in the world, in my book anyway
Goodbye Cafe con Leche
Goodbye Spanish Flowers (I only got to see at the end!)
Goodbye beautifully decorated old buildings
Goodbye Puente Romano
Goodbye “being able to enjoy a drink out”
Goodbye old ruins
Goodbye big fruit!
Here are a couple videos we watched in my last day of Spanish Language class…they make me laugh and take my journey conquering the Spanish language more lightly in times when I feel I will never 100% dominate the language, even though I know I have grown so much in my ability to speak with fluency during this semester abroad.
Que difil es hablar el español (How difficult it is to speak Spanish)
One Semester of Spanish, Spanish Love Song
I am constantly reminded of this quote while thinking back over the semester. It was said by a woman who I have always looked up to…
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
I think I can confidently say that I have followed her advice very closely. And now the journey of world exploration and language domination continues. It is one that will take a lifetime and never be fully completed, but like they always say, the journey is what matters. Thanks for reading!