I spent my junior year of college living in Santander, a mid-sized city on the Atlantic coast of Northern Spain. My memories of Spain have a dreamy lightness about them. In the four years that have passed, I haven’t once returned for a visit. Excuses abound: plane tickets are expensive, the euro is strong compared to the dollar and I now have a real job with limited vacation. Yet deep down I know that none of these account for why I haven’t gone back. The truth is, I don’t want to visit, because that would only mean leaving again. No, the next time I go to Northern Spain I will not have a return ticket.
I fell in love with the life in Spain. I felt I belonged there. Everything felt just right. All of my hopes and needs were met and in perfect balance with one another. I was constantly learning, wrapped in a whole new way of life. Yet my time in Santander did more for me than expand my knowledge of culture and language; it increased my self awareness, and feeling of place in the world.
To all those who supported my year abroad, I am forever grateful. The fifteen some months I spent in Europe set the tone for the rest of my college experience as well as influenced my perspective and sense of place in the world. As time passes, I think less and less about my life in Spain. Yet when I do, the first impulse is always to buy that one-way ticket.