Mays Business School, January 7th, 2015
So after much convincing and persuading, I was actually able to extend my trip until a few days after the New Year’s! I expected to make friends during my time in Spain, but I hadn’t imagined myself actually extending my trip by 10 days just to spend time with them and make this amazing semester last a little longer! In the end, I am so happy that I made the decision of spending the holidays in another country. While I did miss my family and friends back home, I knew that spending such a special time like the holidays with this unique group of people was essentially a once in a lifetime opportunity.
After the stressful time of finals passed, I felt like I was finally able to enjoy Madrid again, which at this point definitely feels like my home away from home. The first half of December flew by since I spent most of my time just preparing for final papers and exams. I was able create some final last memories with my friends, since people were beginning to go home. I was incredibly sad to say goodbye to my Costa Rican roommate, who had become one of my closest friends throughout the semester. However, I know if I ever find myself in Costa Rica, I have a place to stay! I have to say, one of the best parts of this entire trip has been just making friends with people that I otherwise would have never met if I hadn’t decided to spend a semester in Madrid. I feel so happy that I met such a group of different and interesting yet like-minded people. While we all had different backgrounds and unique traits because of where we grew up, we all shared the same passion for life, travel, and ambition.
Christmas was a completely different experience than I had ever had before. I spent Christmas Eve at my friend’s apartment in Plaza Mayor, which is sincerely one of the most beautiful places in all of the city. Instead of the traditional turkey and ham that we eat in America, this time I found myself eating chicken, risotto, salad, king’s cake, and gluhwein. I had a lovely time with my friends, whom I will always remember as my Spanish family. We spent the night laughing, chatting, and we may or may not have had a 30 minute lip syncing session to songs from our childhood (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, etc.).
New Years was another sweet experience in which I was able to try out a very uniquely Madrid tradition. At midnight, my friends and I went to the plaza Puerta Del Sol (the center of the city) and counted down until the New Year while eating a grape for every second when it was 12 seconds until 12:00. I guess you could equate it somewhat to the ball dropping in NYC.
Now that my trip is at an end, I can’t help but think how insanely thankful I am that I followed through with my dream of studying abroad in Spain. I always knew it was something I wanted to do, and finally doing it just reaffirmed the notion of living the life you imagine for yourself. My experience was everything that I imagined for myself and more. I made connections with people from countries all over the world, visited breath-taking sites, learned more about myself and the world, and created memories that I will always look back on for the rest of my life.
I’m already dreaming up the next way that I can visit my friends and travel to new places. Spain will always hold a special place in my heart, and I already miss this beautiful country that gave me so much.