Wow time goes by fast! I honestly meant to post a lot earlier, but time flew by and now I’m already back in the United States, taking classes at Westtown. It’s almost frightening how an experience like my trip to Spain can pass by in just the blink of an eye. Indeed, it’s already been over a week since I returned from Spain. In ways, it’s a relief to be done but at the same time I can’t help but feel sad that it’s over. Regardless, endings are a part of life and it is important to note that every ending opens the door for reflection.
Certainly, I was excited to return home at the end of the trip. For instance, I couldn’t wait to speak English. Although I had enjoyed practicing and utilizing my Spanish skills, I really missed being able to speak my own language given that I can express myself more easily in English. Frankly, I felt a bit pathetic when I spent time with the kids at AULA who are able to speak English, Spanish, Catalan, and French while I struggled with only Spanish and English. Despite my frustration, what mattered most was that I was able to communicate my main ideas in Spanish to the AULA students and my host family. I may never speak as fluently as a native Spanish speaker, but I can definitely portray my thoughts, feelings, and ideas to others and, for me, that was enough.
Through such communication, I was able to establish new connections with my host family and some AULA students. When I look back on the trip, I believe the greatest bond I formed was that with my host mother. In a household of boys, my host mom and I were immediately connected and by the end of the trip I came to feel like an adopted daughter to my host mom. Needless to say, I miss her as well as the rest of the family. I had never been hosted by a family before so I was truly relieved that my experience with my host family was so positive during this trip.
Another feature of this trip that I enjoyed was the people I traveled with. To be honest, I was a bit nervous at the beginning because most of the group were from different grades and thus I really had never talked to them much before. Furthermore, our group consisted of only five people and I secretly feared that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with any of them. In a culture that was very different to us, however, we were inevitably brought together so that by the end of the trip we all got along incredibly well. Upon the conclusion of our travels, we came to consider ourselves a family. As I write now, I actually miss my Spanish group and wish we could spend more time together.
While my senior project may be finished, the Spanish exchange with AULA is not. On March 30th, the student from AULA will be coming to Westtown to experience life in the United States. In that regard, my project is not completely over as I will soon be seeing many of the AULA students I previously met. In years before, I never really got interested in the arrival of the Spanish exchange students. This year I am excited though; I cannot wait to see them again and to show them what life is like at Westtown.
Lastly, I will leave some photos of the end of our trip. To make a final note, we visited lots of museums in Barcelona and Madrid such as the Picasso Museum, El Prado, the Salvador Dalí Mueseum, etc. We also toured the work of the famous architect Antoni Gaudí, including La Sagrada Familia and La Pedrera, both of which were absolutely mesmerizing. Here are some pictures: